Tue | Nov 28, 2023

Wigton buying Ferry land above listing price but mum on purpose

Published:Wednesday | February 8, 2023 | 1:11 AM
The Wigton Windfarm complex at Rose Hill, Manchester.
The Wigton Windfarm complex at Rose Hill, Manchester.
A section of the wind farm at the Wigton in Rose Hill, Manchester.
A section of the wind farm at the Wigton in Rose Hill, Manchester.
Wigton Windfarm Limited Managing Director, Earl Barrett.
Wigton Windfarm Limited Managing Director, Earl Barrett.

Wigton Windfarm Limited is in the process of buying land inside the 876 industrial park at Ferry Pen for which it is paying more than the listing price seen on one brokerage site.

The renewable energy company has signed an agreement to acquire Lot 28 for US$1.55 million, while on Keez the property was being advertised for US$1.1 million.

Wigton Managing Director Earl Barrett said, however, that the price the company is paying was determined after careful examination and that the land was needed for strategic reasons.

“We did get a reputable assessor to provide a value before procurement. We are also aware of the historical valuations. Our due diligence would have been thorough and weighed against our strategic (goals),” Barrett told the Financial Gleaner.

The present owner of the property, according to Titles Office records, is Northwood Limited, a company whose directors are listed as Ole Moe and Edward Azan, with attorney Tracey Long-Foster holding the single issued share. Ole Moe, better known as Fredrik Moe, is also the developer of the 876 industrial park at Ferry Pen, Kingston.

Northwood bought the land for US$450,000 in April 2020 from Cumberland Pen Land Holdings Limited. The latter company is owned by Matthew Deleon.

Wigton operates a windfarm in Manchester and sells the power its produces to the Jamaica Public Service Company. But some turbines are nearing the end of their useful life and its affecting the company’s output and income.

While it finalises financing to replace the turbines, Wigton has been attempting to diversity its revenue streams to become less reliant on wind. As such, it has been venturing into renewable energy projects, and doing other investments as new income sources. For example, in March 2022 Wigton acquired a 21 per cent stake in electrical vehicle trader Flash Motors.

The company’s main operating base is in Manchester but it has an office in New Kingston at the PCJ Building.

Wigton Company Secretary Shaneek Clacken says by nature, sales agreements covering land usually have a set period of about 90 days from signature to conclude the sale, and that, as such, the company could not say more about the transaction at this time.

“The intention is that once it (the sale) is completed, we’ll finalise our plans in relation to the property and we’ll give further information,” Clacken said.

Barrett, meanwhile, cited stock market disclosure rules while declining to explain the purpose of the investment.

“We have to be cautious that being listed on the stock exchange, almost every step could be qualified as being material. All of the further steps that may take place towards that acquisition have to be first disclosed to the JSE,” Barrett said.

The property is unsuited for renewable power generation at scale, but Barrett has indicated that other renewable energy considerations are in the mix for the use of the lot.

“It has to do with renewables,” he said. “Anything that we do we will try to bring energy conservation and renewable energy into it.”

The Wigton board is to meet later this week for further deliberations on the property.