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Kingston Wharves shareholders approve Jamaica Producers' equity investment

Published:Tuesday | April 3, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Jeffrey Hall (left), chief executive officer of Jamaica Producers Group (JP), and Grantley Stephenson, executive chairman and chief executive officer of Kingston Wharves Limited (KWL), share a light moment after shareholders approved the issuance of 357,550,000 ordinary shares of KWL to JP. Shareholders approved the issuance of the new shares at an extraordinary general meeting held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel last Thursday.

Kingston Wharves Limited (KWL) has secured capital to expand and further develop the port following last Thursday's approval of the issuance of 357,550,000 ordinary shares of KWL to Jamaica Producers Group Limited (JP) by shareholders.

The shares were sold to JP at a price of $5 per share, totalling an equity investment of $1,787,750,000. The investment will result in JP holding 25 per cent of the issued shares of KWL. Shareholders approved the issuance at an extraordinary general meeting held on March 29 at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel.

Grantley Stephenson, executive chairman and chief executive officer of KWL noted that the transaction will provide KWL with secure long-term financing for port expansion and development.

"We are pleased that our shareholders share our view of the transaction and have given their support to the continued development of Kingston Wharves. The support of our shareholders and the investment by JP both serve to demonstrate confidence in the company and its plans for the future," Stephenson said.

Jeffrey Hall, chief executive officer of JP, said he was pleased that the shareholders have demonstrated their confidence in the proposed plans and are joining JP in supporting the investment in KWL.

"We believe that the investment opportunity available to KWL is good for its shareholders, the shareholders of JP, as well as Jamaica, because it allows the company to capitalise on the opportunities for transshipment and to improve its overall efficiency, thereby improving its long-term profitability," Hall said.

The KWL shareholders also approved an amendment to the articles of incorporation of KWL to allow minority shareholders holding 21 per cent or more of the issued shares the right to appoint up to three directors to the board of KWL.

The transaction was recommended to shareholders by the board of KWL and took into account the independent professional, legal and financial advice provided to the company.

KWL is recognised as a leading private multipurpose port-terminal operator in the Caribbean. The company operates a comprehensive range of terminal equipment across 260,000 square metres of open storage space, 24,000 square metres of covered warehousing and cold storage, and 53 square metres of off-dock storage for motor vehicles. The KWL terminal has a 1,655-metre continuous quay that provides nine deep-water berths for roll-on-roll-off, lift-on-lift-off, general break bulk, containerised cargo and bulk cargo vessel.

The investment will facilitate KWL moving to a world-class facility and will see: the removal and relocation of the existing warehouses; the rehabilitation of Berths 5, 6, and 7; an increased stowage capacity by 17,314 square metres (approximately 186,000 square feet); the creation of a new berthing facility 7,969 square metres (approximately 86,000 square feet).