IWES using Jamaica as springboard to new markets
Avia Collinder, Business Reporter
Marlene Street-Forrest, general manager of the Jamaica Stock Exchange, says three overseas companies have indicated interest in listing on the junior exchange and that the float of shares could occur next year.
Separately, Industrial Welding Equipment Sales Rentals Limited (IWES), which operates from the Point Lisas Industrial Estate in Trinidad and Tobago, says it plans to list on Jamaica's JSE junior stock market by mid-2014.
Street-Forrest declined to confirm the names of the other prospective listing candidates.
IWES, which started in 2002, offers design, manufacture, testing, inspection, maintenance, refurbishment and recertification of offshore container cargo carrying units for the energy trade.
The company said it may consider setting up operations in Jamaica based on developments after the IPO. IWES is a private company whose shareholders include Managing Director Merv Waterman. It employs 30, but the company declined to disclose its revenues.
"IWES provides the first opportunity for citizens in Jamaica to directly participate in the regional energy sector," said Dr Nigel Williams, the company's chief engineer.
IWES has no plans to list on Trinidad's stock market, Williams said.
The company describes itself as a provider of services for DNV-certified offshore containers — also known as cargo-carrying units or CCUs — for the diverse needs of the oil and gas industry.
DNV is a global provider of technical assurance services to the upstream oil and gas industry.
IWES says it has been the sole manufacturer of DNV-certified offshore containers in the Caribbean and wider region since 2004.
"We wish to expand our operations in the region, with the possibility of making an investment in Jamaica to access Cuba and the North American region," Williams told the Financial Gleaner.
"IWES is seeking to raise J$250 million to support international expansion of its energy-services business to international markets," he said.
Williams declined to name of the stock brokerage tapped to underwrite and manage the upcoming share float.
Jamaica's junior stock market offers up to 10 years of tax breaks to listing candidates. Companies pay no corporate income tax in the first five years of listing, while 50 per cent of income tax charges are waived in the second five; and they receive exemptions on transfer tax and stamp duty, Street-Forrest said.
In return, the company has to stay listed for at least 15 years.
Street-Forrest told the Financial Gleaner that overseas listing candidates are eligible for the same waivers and concessions as local firms, including reduced listing fees.
Fundraising on the junior stock market is capped at J$500 million. The JSE Junior Exchange had its first listing in 2009. Today, there are 18 juniors trading on the exchange, with combined value of J$26 billion at end-September.
"Many companies have grown their brand simply because they are listed on either the main or the junior market," said Street-Forrest.
"Capital raised can assist the company with future growth and expansion, which can greatly assist in growing the local economy or the CARICOM economy by the establishment of jobs, opportunities and other businesses," the JSE GM said on Wednesday.
Companies in Barbados, Trinidad and Jamaica can list in their home markets but have their shares traded on various markets through the Caribbean Exchange Network (CXN). Williams of IWES said Jamaica was chosen for its initial public offering because it "has the strongest support ecosystem — service providers, consultants, legal advisers — of all of the regional exchanges."
One possible area of expansion for IWES, he said, might come through trans-shipment opportunities connected to the development of the Panama canal.
"Our business is in the area of energy-support services, so if there are any energy logistics operations that are linked to Panama, we will certainly provide services there," he said.