Avia Collinder, Business Reporter
The Stewart family has partnered with Kyffin Simpson to set up a local financing company that is already pitching loans to car buyers in Jamaica.
Jackie Stewart-Lechler said the new entity, called Simpson Finance Jamaica Limited, is a joint venture with Barbados partners whom she did not name outright.
However, Companies Office documents peg Kyffin Simpson as one of the directors.
The company is owned through an offshore registered vehicle called SS Finance Holdings St Lucia Inc.
Lechler said only that the principal shareholders of Simpson Finance are based in Barbados. The company was incorporated two months ago on August 22; its five directors comprise Lechler and Duncan Stewart of Jamaica, and Kyffin Simpson, Murphy Brent and Andrew Hutchinson of Barbados.
"Simpson Finance Jamaica Limited is run by Richard Coe and will be offering financing options for vehicles sold and associated with the Stewart's Automotive Group," said Stewart-Lechler, who is a company director for Stewart's Auto Sales and group finance director for Stewart's Automotives.
Coe said Simpson Finance is not a subsidiary of Stewart's Automotive but pays rent for facilities occupied on South Camp Road, the home of Stewart Auto Sales and other car dealerships owned by the Stewart's.
"It's a separate company which shares directors with Stewart's Automotives," said Coe, finance manager of Simpson Finance Jamaica Ltd.
He said that once the documentation is presented, Simpson Finance can approve loans within 24 hours for the purchase of Suzukis, Mercedes-Benzes, BMWs, Mitsubishis and some industrial vehicles and equipment.
Car buyers are being offered a maximum seven years to repay with promotional interest rates ranging from 10 to 14 per cent.
Coe and Stewart-Lechler declined to disclose the investment in the new entity or describe the business relationship between the local family and their Barbados counterparts.
However, the Stewart family has had long-standing business dealings with Kyffin, whose company, Interamericana Trading Corporation is the Caribbean agent for Suzuki and is responsible for appointing dealers for the Japanese-made vehicle in this region.
Coe said that while other financing entities also issue car loans, Simpson Finance is the only player that offers financing exclusively for vehicles.
"We are also offering flexibility through tailor-made financing packages - working out loans based on individuals' budgets," he said.
"We can use balloon payments to reduce payments," he added, noting that this option allows for lump sum payments to reduce the repayment period or lower monthly loan payments.