Sun | Apr 23, 2017

NMIA interest suggests Jamaica has good investment climate - PSOJ

Published:Wednesday | April 29, 2015 | 4:00 AM
William Mahfood, president of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica and CEO of Wisynco Group.

There is another feather in Jamaica's hat as a destination that is attractive to investment.

Following the revelation in the House of Representatives yesterday by Transport, Works and Housing Minister Dr Omar Davies that the five entities shortlisted to take over the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA) are of international repute, the local business community said it indicates the high level of confidence in the economy.

Two Jamaican firms are among the entities that have been shortlisted. GraceKennedy's GK Capital Management Limited is to act as the financial member of a Korean-backed consortium. The entity is called the Korea Airport Corporation Latin America and GK Capital Management Limited.

Davies said Korea Airport Corporation Latin America is registered in Colombia and is controlled by Korea Airport Corporation, based in Seoul, South Korea.

The entity manages and operates 14 airports in Korea.

The other shortlisted entity with Jamaican interest is Corporation Aeroportuaria del Esta S.A.S. (Punta Cana International Airport), Jamaica Producers Group, and GBG Energy S. de R.L.

The Punta Cana Airport is the largest international airport in the Caribbean, with 5.9 million arrivals in 2014.

William Mahfood, president of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), said the fact that two of the country's "most important corporations", as well as major international firms, have expressed a desire to invest in the NMIA speaks to the level of confidence in the economy.

"Coming on the heels of a number of improvements, the fiscal situation that the economy is in, the improvement in the Doing Business Index by the World Bank, and the more recent survey of business and consumer confidence, it is the next step in what was the natural progression for businesses and the development of the economy," Mahfood told The Gleaner yesterday.

"I expected to see more private sector involvement in terms of new business, and it is happening. It is happening in the energy sector, mining, and tourism ... . President (Barack) Obama came here, and it renews that confidence internationally for investors."

OTHER ENTITIES

Davies revealed that China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) is also among the five entities shortlisted for the airport.

The others are Cedicor S.A., an Argentinean company that manages more than 40 airports in South America, and the consortium of Zurich Airport International A.G. and A-Port Chile S.A., which is based in Chile.

Davies said Zurich Airport International is the operating arm of Flughafen Zurich AG in Latin America and the Caribbean.

It has its home base in Zurich and is engaged in the management of 10 airports in 14 countries in Latin America and Asia.

The minister said the fact that there are five international bidders who have been shortlisted for the privatisation of the NMIA is "a testament to the positive investment climate perceived by international investors".

Mahfood said that following the divestment of the Kingston Container Terminal to CMA CGM/Terminal Link, it is great news for Jamaica to be told that there are "five substantial, relevant companies that are vying for the Norman Manley International Airport".

"It is very, very positive. It speaks to the track that we are on as a country, and we just need to ensure that we continue to have that environment to facilitate investment," the PSOJ president said.

The list of companies was arrived at following an invitation for pre-qualification, which was launched in December 2014, but which had to be terminated and reissued to effect an administrative modification. The new pre-qualification document was issued on March 30, 2015, with a submission deadline of April 17, 2015. Consequent on the evaluation of the applications received, these five firms were deemed eligible to participate in the bidding process.