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Overall market activity resulted from trading in 13 securities of which four advanced, five declined and four traded firm.
Trading activity on the First Tier Market registered a volume of 287,067 shares crossing the floor of the Exchange valued at $955,252.88. GraceKennedy Ltd was the volume leader with 111,498 shares changing hands for a value of $289,925.64, followed by JMMB Group Ltd with a volume of 93,294 shares being traded for $79,299.90. National Flour Mills Ltd contributed 50,000 shares with a value of $132,002.65, while Angostura Holdings Ltd added 10,000 shares valued at $149,500.
Angostura Holdings Ltd enjoyed the day's largest gain, increasing $0.30 to end the day at $14.95. Conversely, Republic Financial Holdings Ltd suffered the day's greatest loss, falling $1 to close at $109.
The Mutual Fund Market did not record any activity.
West Indian Tobacco recorded profit before tax of $502.8 million, for the nine months ended September 30.
Chairman Anthony Phillip told shareholder this was five per cent higher than for the corresponding period in 2015. The after tax profit for the period of $372.6 million, reflects an increase of 5.2 per cent over 2015," he said.
"The Board has accordingly approved the payment of a third interim dividend of $1.44 per ordinary share payable on November 24 to shareholders of record at close of business on November 7," Phillip said. The company's unaudited interim financial results for the period were posted to the T&T Stock Exchange yesterday.
Government is about to engage international consultants to examine transfer pricing—a means to secure top energy revenues—and to look especially at Atlantic LNG, Finance Minister Colm Imbert said on Monday night as he wound up debate on the 2017 Budget in the Senate.
"I want to announce we're very close to engaging international consultants to look at transfer pricing and to look especially at Atlantic LNG. We're engaging experts in gas pricing and international legal experts to look at the contracts for Trains I, II, III, and IV for the LNG plant and see exactly how our LNG is sold," he said.
Imbert said it was necessary since there were allegations that the price that was reported to T&T from which the revenue flows, was not the correct price.
"We therefore need experts to see whether it is true or not," he said.
Imbert said an LNG cargo might leave Point Fortin heading to the United States where the benchmark price might be $2.80 and "half-way along the trip someone might purchase that cargo and the ship would just turn around and head for Japan or Europe where the price in the past was different, $3 or $10.
"So the cargoes are diverted before they reach their final destination. The person who gets the final sale of the cargo gets the benefit of the $10 price...there's an argument that T&T's revenue was being calculated on the lower price."
The minister added: "What the multinationals do is they sell the product to affiliated companies. Essentially they are selling it to themselves and then that entity unsells it to somebody else, so they really get far more revenue than they are reporting to us.
"But if you talk to the companies they say all of that is not true, all of that is mischief, lies and, therefore, the only way to deal with that now is to be scientific and professional about it."
Imbert said he had no doubt T&T could get more as a country from oil and gas companies based in the country.
"I can tell you this Minister of Finance, is going to look at that," he
On another issue, Imbert said organisations like Servol "would certainly receive favourable review from his Ministry but it cannot be like that for everything, it cannot be."
He explained: "Some organisations will just have to try and do more with less—that's why we have to run a deficit because if we didn't, we might have to cut Petrotrin by a billion and that might cause retrenchment which might cause an unfavourable reaction."
Motorists will still be able to pay for fuel using debit and credit cards at the 24 United Independent Petroleum Marketing Company Limited (Unipet) service stations across the country.
Although service station dealers represented by the Petroleum Dealers' Association (PDA) say they will stop accepting electronic payments for fuel purchases from tomorrow, Unipet CEO Dexter Riley said the company has not made any policy decisions on the matter.
He said: "At Unipet, we are continually reviewing our cost structure, we have not made a policy decision with respect to that call for action. Our first approach is to find cost cutting measures that won't adversely impact the public."
In a statement yesterday, Unipet said it respects the decision of operators to discontinue accepting electronic transactions as that action "reflects the dire financial circumstances which operators face in providing a safe and efficient service to the motoring public and the industrial sector."
Unipet said gas station operators are functioning on margins set by Government since 2005.
"Given inflationary trends and increased costs, operators are now running their businesses on $3.95 on every $100 spent on super gasoline.
"Looking at a similar situation, households today cannot cover their costs on the basis of 2005 wages so operators have a tremendous challenge to maintain the same level of service to the public on controlled margins which have remained unchanged since 2005. It is our hope that this matter will be reviewed by the Government and action will be taken to stabilise the industry," Unipet said.
In July, PDA president Robindranath Naraynsingh warned that the country's 170 gas stations were on the verge of collapse due to poor profitability margins from the sale of fuel. On Wednesday, the group announced that its stations will no longer offer electionic payment options effective tomorrow.
The PDA said in a statement: "At this time the retail petroleum dealers are faced with the difficult decision of either operating under-staffed, inconvenient stations, or reducing the cost of operations, in order to retain the employees that make your gas-purchasing experience safe, comfortable and efficient.
"While our primary duty remains the provision of fuel to the nation's consumers, we also have duty to the people we employ, who aid us in said fuel provision. Our industry is regulated by the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries, and specific to the at-pump price of fuel, the Ministry of Energy works in conjunction with the Ministry of Finance to set this cost. Every part of the system that brings fuel from ground to tank, is governed by the Petroleum Act, 62.01."
The PDA said 200 per cent increases in the Business Levy and Green Fund Levy in January had the effect of "immediately destabilising the business of retailing fuel."
"You may have already noticed that smaller, neighbourhood gas stations have been shutting down after years in operation, unable to pay the staff required for operating and the steep increased taxes mandatory to our sector.
"We appreciate the inconvenience that this poses to those who have enjoyed the facility of electronic payment processing, and we are aware that is equally inconvenient to the dealers. However, this is the least jarring measure we can take to keep our nation's gas stations in operation, thereby keeping the vehicles in our hard-working population fuelled as well."
Trade Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon and Energy Minister Nicole Olivierre will lead a delegation of 34 companies from T&T to the Havana International Trade Fair (FIHAV) 2016 which takes place in Cuba from October 31 to November 4.
The event will be used as a platform to further develop the commercial alliance between T&T and Cuba and to enhance the mechanisms that promote trade between both countries.
In addressing the FIHAV 2016 delegates at a briefing session held at exporTT Limited on Monday, Senator Gopee-Scoon expressed her delight at the number of companies participating this year and highlighted the importance of expanding the country’s exports in light of the current economic climate and the decline in commodity prices.
“FIHAV 2016 will provide our exporters with the opportunity to gain access to a market that is becoming increasingly liberalised; establish new business contacts and gather market intelligence on the Cuban market. It will also allow the energy delegation being led by the Minister of Energy and Energy Industries to advance discussions in the area of export of energy services,” she said.
While in Cuba, Gopee-Scoon will attend a series of bilateral meetings with the Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment of Cuba and other Cuban officials.
Some of the companies in the T&T delegation at FIHAV are ANSA McAL Chemicals Limited, Blue Waters Products Limited, Carib Brewery Limited, John Dickinson & Co. (West Indies) Limited, Kaleidoscope Paints Limited, National Flour Mills, Sacha Cosmetics Limited, Eximbank Limited, the Tobago House of Assembly, Bermudez Biscuit Company, Physicians Pharmaceuticals Limited, RBC Royal Bank (T&T) Limited and the T&T Manufacturers’ Association.
Ignatius Ferreira, chairman emeritus of Furness Trinidad Limited, and the late Joe Pires Sr, founder of Caribbean Chemicals and Agencies Limited, will be inducted in the T&T Chamber's Business Hall of Fame at the annual Champions of Business Induction Ceremony and Gala Cocktail Reception on November 12 at the Hyatt Regency in Port of Spain.
Now in its 12th year, the award ceremony honours some of T&T’s finest business minds, both accomplished and emerging. In an evening of pomp and accolades, men and women who have distinguished themselves in service to their companies and to their country will be recognized by their peers for excellence in business performance and philanthropic practices.
For the second year running, EY will partner with the T&T Chamber as exclusive category investor for the Entrepreneur of the Year™ (Master and Emerging) as well as the Winning Women award. On board, almost from the inception of the award ceremony, the First Citizens Group will this year be exclusive category investor, sponsoring the Internationally Known…T&T Owned Company of the Year award.
The other inductees, winners and finalists for Champions of Business 2016 are:
Internationally Known...T&T Owned Company of the Year
• Label House Group Limited
EY Entrepreneur of the Year - Master Entrepreneur
(The winner will be eligible to compete in the 2017 World Entrepreneur of the Year competition)
• Satyakama ‘Kama’ Maharaj, Sacha Cosmetics Limited
EY Entrepreneur of the Year Finalists - Emerging Entrepreneur
(The winner will be announced on the evening of the awards)
• Anya Ayoung Chee, Anya Ayoung Chee Limited
• Isabel Brash, Cocobel Chocolate
• David Thomas and Rachel Renie, Market Movers Limited
Winning Women Winner
• Jennifer Dan Sharma, Jenny’s On The Boulevard
Chairman of Sandals Resorts International, Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, will be this year’s feature speakers. The formidable business magnate is himself no stranger to success having received Jamaica’s highest distinction, the Order of Jamaica, as well as some 50 other local, regional and international awards.
UWI economist Dr Roger Hosein yesterday predicted that T&T’s economic recession will continue until the third quarter of 2017. He warned, however, that the strategy currently being used to lift the country out of the recession might not work because it was the same one used almost two decades ago.
“The strategy seems to be one that mirrors the type of activity that we engaged in 1999 to 2008 which is simply producing more natural gas. It cannot be that. The economic rent that we generate from the natural gas and petroleum sector as a whole cannot be used now to fund consumption. It has to be used to widen and deepen the economic space by more capital intervention in the economy with some proportion of the economic rent also going into the Stabilization Fund,” he said.
Dr Hosein, who spoke on the issue following the media launch of Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) at TSTT’s Booth, Queen’s Park Oval, Port-of-Spain, yesterday, said Minister of Finance Colm Imbert did the “right thing” by implementing a tax on online purchases. He suggested that the tax should be 10 per cent and said it would be effective in decreasing the amount of consumption items purchased overseas.
Commenting on oil prices, he said: “The price of oil is probably going to increase depending on what decisions OPEC makes next year. That probably will not manifest itself in a sharp increase by US$10 or US $12 with the WTI or Brent.”
He is recommending that the oil price on which the national budget is pegged be kept at between US$43 and US$53 a barrel.
GEW 2016 will be celebrated from November 5 and 15 with a series of activities scheduled across the country. Dale Laughlin, chairman, of Youth Business T&T (YBTT) said after 16 years of existence the group can boast of many success stories when it comes to assisting entrepreneurs. She said YBTT now needs more funding to stimulate entrepreneurship further.
“We need financial support, skills and technical expertise from private sector businesses, government, international development agencies and foundations,” she said.
Referring to work completed in the last 12 to 18 months, Laughlin said YBTT focused on building internal capacity to make its suite of support services more relevant to budding entrepreneurs.
GEW is the largest celebration of innovators, job creators and financiers who launch start-ups, bring ideas to life and drive economic growth. It is celebrated in 160 countries.
Overall market activity resulted from trading in seven securities of which three advanced, two declined and two traded firm.
Trading activity on the first tier market registered a volume of 111,525 shares crossing the floor of the Exchange valued at $546,280.95, with the Composite Index advancing by 1.25 points (0.11 per cent) to close at 1,168.45 and the All T&T Index advancing by 2.73 points (0.15 per cent) to close at 1,804.78.
JMMB Group was the volume leader with 101,000 shares changing hands for a value of $85,850, followed by First Citizens with a volume of 3,512 shares being traded for $112,135.15. The West Indian Tobacco contributed 2,500 shares with a value of $317,500, while National Enterprises Ltd added 2,000 shares valued at $20,500.
First Citizens enjoyed the day's largest gain, increasing $0.43 to end the day at $31.93. Conversely, Sagicor Financial Corporation suffered the day's greatest loss, falling $0.20 to close at $7.
Clico Investment Fund was the only active security on the mutual fund market, posting a volume of 42,110 shares valued at $951,273.60. Clico Investment Fund remained at $22.59. Bourse Brazil Latin Fund remained at $8.10. Calypso Macro Index Fund remained at $21.99. Fortress Caribbean Property Fund-Development Fund remained at $0.67. Fortress Caribbean Property Fund-Value Fund remained at $1.70. Praetorian Property Mutual Fund remained at $2.65.
The Central Bank anticipates an increase in oil and gas production in 2017, but says an economy-wide recovery is “likely to take some time to be firmly established” because global energy prices remain very uncertain.
The Central Bank’s analysis is contained in a new five-year strategic plan, from fiscal 2017 to 2021, which is dated September 30, but was placed on the institution’s website on October 21.
As a result of the slowness of the recovery on the on-shore sector, according to the Central Bank, T&T “can expect to continue to operate in a challenging domestic environment over the early part of the five-year span of the strategic plan.”
This will mean that the Bank’s mandate to maintain inflation will be placed in the context of “likely severe constraints on economic growth.”
The strategic plan says as there is a possibility that the economic slowdown could impact on the ability of borrowers to service their loans, the Central Bank will have to pay “very close attention” to financial supervision of the quality of loans extended by financial institutions.
The Central Bank said that the international scene is likely to remain “unsettled for some time” in the wake of continued weakness in European economies, the delayed sustain rise in US interest rates, the fallout from Brexit and nervousness about investments in emerging markets”.
It said the loss of correspondent banking relationships is of particular concern to Caribbean countries.
“The growing integration of Trinidad and Tobago’s financial market with the rest of the world, developments in international payment systems, creation of new financial products, incidence of cross mergers and acquisitions will quickly impact the domestic market,” according to the Central Bank.
Following their summit in Guyana earlier this year, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders announced that a global conference on the issue will be held in Antigua this week.
Correspondent banks, which are mainly large, international banks based in the United States of America, Europe and Canada, provide Caribbean states with vital access to the international financial system, by offering services to smaller, domestic banks and financial institutions to complete international payments and settlements.
However, many banks, which provide correspondent banking services have been seeking to manage their risks by severing ties with institutions in the region.
Government’s seven percent on-line tax is punishing the “little man” who is “intervening in big people” business, says Independent Senator Stephen Creese.
“You’re rolling him (the little man) back - that’s sad,” Creese added in yesterday’s 2017 Budget debate in the Senate.
Creese questioned who foreign exchange belonged to and whether this was to the conglomerates, banks or large importers.
He also pointed out that the biggest subsidy in the budget - the electricity subsidy - wasn’t touched and that subsidy benefitted persons with big houses and many lights who used more electricity than the “little man’ who tried to conserve.
“Is there class bias in T&T? How else do you explain the subsidy,” he said, adding it was a paucity of vision.
Creese said T&T was caught in a class hegemony and government was unwilling to break free and declare new rules. He also noted banks for instance were “unwilling to reward savers” since they carried lower interest rates than credit unions.
Creese asked Government to reinstate youth camps to assist youths - especially male - with discipline and purpose. The initiative would further food production and assist them to learn farming skills. He recommended more creative use of the CEPEP and Unemployment Relief Programmes involving teaching employees backyard garden skills to help them generate income and making them available to assist farmers from whom they can learn.
He said the Budget lacked connectivity and links between the past and the present. “We’ve hitched our wagon to (stars) like Pt Lisas and now we’re doing so with Sandals and tourism, the Mitsubishi plant and talking of cocoa and coconut. Back to the old time days. (But) that didn’t take us anywhere.”
Canadian company Hire Pro Drivers (HPD) has identified 35,000 long-haul trucking vacancies in Canada that could be filled by TT nationals and there is also the “strong possibility” of workers getting permanent residence, Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste- Primussaid yesterday.
Baptiste-Primus’ disclosure came in yesterday’s 2017 Budget debate in the Senate.
It may have been a ray of light on a darkening job market where she said 1,848 persons have lost jobs T&T to date.
But Guardian checks revealed that HPD, which did similar employment placement drives in Jamaica in 2012-13, has been the subject of articles in Canadian and Jamaican media regarding alleged problems with its endeavours.
Baptiste-Primus said the unemployment rate began climbing between 2014 and 2015 from 748 to 1,100 persons. To date in 2016 it is 1,848. But this is “the tip of the iceberg” she said since employers do not have to report terminations numbering under five.
Baptiste-Primus said reasons given by companies for job losses include organisational restructuring, decrease in business, worsening economic factors leading to reorganisation for companies to ensure viability and impact of the financial downturn globally.
She said the Ministry’s ten-point plan to assist the jobless which was introduced several months ago—following the AcelorMittal closure—included training, counselling, business financing and exploration of overseas opportunities.
On the latter, she said Government was partnering with Canadian HPD which she described as a recruitment agency which is coming to T&T in December.
“They said they’ve identified 35,000 vacancies in Canada for long-haul drivers,”she added.
Baptsite-Priumus added HPD welcomed the opportunity to partner with T&T as the vacancies could be filled by nationals. She said there was also the “strong possibility “ of workers migrating permanently to Canada.
She added Government would concretise the situation during the December HPD talks.
The British Columbia company’s website states it provides a “comprehensive ‘turnkey’ solution to carriers seeking professional experienced Class 1 drivers, mechanics, welders and other trade related skilled professionals.” It also specialised in “connecting employers with exceptional long-haul professional drivers, mechanics, welders and other trade professionals.”
In 2012, then Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller had lauded HPD for assistance with “the most recent group of Canadian employers to recruit Jamaicans for permanent jobs in Canada.”
A January 2013 Jamaican Gleaner article reported on the experience of some drivers recruited by HPD who confirmed favourable experiences.
In February 2013, Canada’s “Globe and Mail” reported the British Colombia and Alberta governments were investigating issues concerning HPD.
The article stated BC’s Employment Standards Branch confirmed “active investigation” underway “in relation to Hire Pro Drivers, a BC company run by Michael Patterson that links Canadian employers to truck drivers from other countries, including Jamaica.” No details were given by the Branch.
The article also alleged the company’s owners sought “a fee in exchange for job placement” concerning another company he owned- Marmicmon. It also noted the owner was “involved in several initiatives to connect Jamaican workers with prospective Canadian employers, including serving as liaison between Jamaican and Canadian schools for a programme to train licensed practical nurses.”
That initiative was suspended in 2011, due to alleged inability to meet contractual obligations. It stated the owner was later focused on “the industrial sector which is hungry for qualified truck drivers and heavy-duty mechanics.”
In March 2013 the Jamaican Gleaner reported the Globe and Mail article and HDP’s investigations under the headline “Trouble Brews in Canada/Jamaica driver employment programme.”
It stated the entity which had partnered with the Jamaican Government to find employment opportunities for Jamaicans in Canada and “which has had good success in getting driving jobs for Jamaican truck and trailer drivers” was under investigation for possible breaches Canadian labour laws.
The Gleaner article stated it was alleged programme participants were required to pay up to CAN$750 for training, which included driver assessment and logbook courses, and this could be illegal. It noted Patterson denied any wrongdoing.
The bottled water industry in the Caribbean will come under critical scrutiny when the Caribbean Water and Waste Water Association (CWWA) hosts a debate on the subject during its annual conference (CWWA) in T&T from today to Friday.
The debate will take place tomorrow at 9 am at the Hyatt Regency in Port-of-Spain and will be moderated by Vincent Sweeney, Head of the Caribbean Sub-Regional Office of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) with feature contributions from representatives of a variety of interests engaged in the industry.
The debate arises out of a CWWA study on the economic and environmental impact of the bottled water industry on countries of the Caribbean region and its implications for the water utilities sector.
Representing the industry will be Dominic Hadeed, CEO of Blue Waters Products Limited of T&T. Other panellists include Adrianus A Vlugman, environmental engineer and environmental health adviser with the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO); former Sustainable Development Minister of Saint Lucia, environmental consultant, Dr James Fletcher and Ronald Roach, CEO of the T&T Solid Waste Management Company Limited (SWMCOL).
Panellists will discuss the relationship between the bottled water industry and state water utilities, impact of plastic bottles used and the relatively high cost of the commercial product.
CWWA President, Jason Johnson said: “This long-awaited debate will help bring clarity to several burning social, environmental and economic issues related to an industry that has grown exponentially over the years but which has also generated as many concerns as there have been evident benefits.”
“This is important since, in many ways, the Caribbean can be said to be drowning in discarded plastics and beverage containers. Bottled water and plastics belong to the discussion we need to have throughout the Caribbean to address such a concern.”
Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Stuart Young is urging developers and financiers of projects to join with Government in public-private partnerships (PPP) to keep the local economy buoyant. He said there should be more focus on real estate and the time is right to reignite the excitement in the housing and the office space markets.
In remarks at Thursday’s Annual Trinidad Realtors Awards at Queen’s Hall in St Ann’s, Young said private sector investments are crucial to stimulate the market, while generating revenues.
“As a government we have coming on stream in the next few months the sale of the apartments at Victoria Keys and as a Cabinet we took a decision, due to the massive extra amounts of money spent on it, to put it out on the open market.
“It’s not going to be low income housing and when that hits the market you all will have the opportunity to be selling these apartments, penthouses,” he said.
“From what I have seen they are really of a top class level. What we are introducing over the next year, as was mentioned in the budget and the Minister of Housing will announce it in the coming months, are PPP projects. How can you partner with the Government? What is it that we have that in addition to the land bank?“he asked.
Young said he was aware that in recent months there had been difficulties getting permission from Town and Country Planning and other authorities to get projects off the ground.
“As a government we give a commitment to work along with you, to try and shorten and contract those time frames. But really the plea is let’s be creative now.
“Let’s do what we can to start back that housing economy. This no longer will be driven by the hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars by the government. We need to take the limited funds that are available now to key other areas afloat,” he said.
The minister said Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and his administration have conceptualised several initiatives in oil and gas and tourism to spur economic relief.
Pointing to the Sandals Resort Development in Tobago, Young said although there are nay-sayers, the project is “a great venture, which should lift the Tobago market.”
Among the big winners at the awards function was Tucker Real Estate, the Agency of the Year Large, while veteran realtor Sharon Inglefield was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
The T&T Guardian was named Best Print Company for real estate information, while JD Sellier was Law Firm of the Year and Sagicor Insurer of the Year.
TRINIDAD REALTOR AWARDS
Most Residential Sale Properties
Most Residential Rental Properties
Most Commercial Sale Properties
Most Commercial Rental Properties
Most Properties on Mapping Guide
Most Views on Trinidad
Tucker Real Estate
Most Photos on Trinidad
Tucker Real Estate
Most Land for Sale Properties
TT Property Search
Most Videos viewed Trinidad
Stuart Spiers Real Estate Services
Best Print Media Company
Trinidad Guardian Newspapers
Valuer of the Year
GA Farrell & Associates
Law Firm of the Year
JD Sellier & Co
Architect of the Year
Fullerton Diaz Architects
Interior Designer of the Year
Brian Mac Farlane: MacFarlane’s Design Studios
Up & Coming Contractor of the Year
Building Beauty Construction
Bank Branch of the Year
Republic Bank Port-of-Spain
Mortgage Agent of the Year
Carlene Joseph-Seerattan: RBC Royal Bank
Insurance Firm of the Year
Most Professionally Attired Male Agent
Colin Skerritt: Ck Skerritt Real Estate Svs Ltd.
Most Professionally Attired Female Agent
Marjorie Lousaing: Trinidad Properties Management Company
Most Professional and Punctual Agent
Steve Plimmer: Plimmer Real Estate
Male Agent of the Year Small Company
Edward Goolsair: Sair Real Estate
Male Agent of the Year Large Company
Ian Parkinson: Massy Realty
Female Agent of the Year Small Company
Debra Teelucksingh: DT Real Estate Services
Female Agent of the Year Medium Company
Alex Boon: Guillen Realty
Female Agent of the Year Large Company
Tracy Sheppard: Stuart Spiers Real Estate Services
Overall market activity resulted from trading in nine securities of which five advanced, two declined and two traded firm.
Trading activity on the First Tier Market registered a volume of 514,594 shares crossing the floor of the Exchange valued at $1,078,297.04. JMMB Group Limited was the volume leader with 413,232 shares changing hands for a value of $339,850.24, followed by Trinidad Cement Limited with a volume of 81,777 shares being traded for $326,537.40. T&T NGL Limited contributed 16,200 shares with a value of $381,495, while Guardian Holdings Limited added 1,447 shares valued at $18,232.20. First Citizens Bank Limited enjoyed the day’s largest gain, increasing $0.50 to end the day at $31.50. Conversely, T&T NGL Limited suffered the day’s greatest loss, falling $0.03 to close at $23.55.
Clico Investment Fund was the only active security on the Mutual Fund Market, posting a volume of 7,430 shares valued at $167,878. It declined by $0.01 to end at $22.59.
LONDON—British American Tobacco (BAT) is offering to buy Reynolds American Inc in a US$47 billion deal that would create the world’s largest publicly-traded tobacco company and attempt to make up for a decline in smoking in the US and Europe.
Local manufacturer West Indian Tobacco Company Limited (WITCO) is a member of the British American Tobacco Group.
With tobacco firms under pressure from health groups in developed economies and increasingly popular electronic cigarettes, a merger of this size would help them consolidate costs and resist competition from Asia, analysts say.
BAT, which is based in London and owns brands like Dunhill, Rothmans and Lucky Strike, has a greater presence in faster-growing regions like Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
It is much larger as a company than Reynolds, which is predominantly focused on the US, where its Newport, Camel and Pall Mall brands are among the top four in the country.
London-based BAT offered Friday to buy the 57.8 per cent of Reynolds it doesn’t already own for the equivalent of US$56.50 per share, 20 per cent more than Thursday’s closing price. Investors would receive US$24.13 in cash and 0.5502 of a BAT share for each Reynolds share they own. The deal values Reynolds, based in Winston Salem, North Carolina, at US$93 billion.
Shares in Reynolds jumped about 20 per cent to US$56.50 in premarket trading in New York, while BAT was up 4.1 per cent to £50 in London.
The merger “is the logical progression in our relationship and offers all shareholders a stake in a stronger, truly global tobacco and next generation products company,” BAT Chief Executive Nicandro Durante said, referring to the firms’ expansion into electronic cigarettes.
Reynolds said in a statement that it will evaluate the offer.
Tobacco companies are particularly keen to expand in developing countries to make up for weaker sales in Europe and the US, where public awareness about the health hazards of smoking has grown.
BAT said it had announced the offer before conducting any negotiations with Reynolds to comply with US law.
The deal would have to be approved by the independent directors of Reynolds and shareholders of both companies.
BAT employs more than 50,000 people globally and has 200 brands in 200 markets.
Reynolds employs 5,700, mostly in the US. (AP)
Overall market activity resulted from trading in 11 securities of which none advanced, five declined and six traded firm.
Trading activity on the First Tier Market registered a volume of 1,582,630 shares crossing the floor of the Exchange valued at $2,367,794.94. JMMB Group Ltd was the volume leader with 1,484,379 shares changing hands for a value of $1,187,503.20, followed by Prestige Holdings Ltd with a volume of 83,979 shares being traded for $923,749. National Commercial Bank Jamaica Ltd contributed 5,603 shares with a value of $14,455.74, while One Caribbean Media Ltd added 2,010 shares valued at $40,200.
First Citizens Bank Ltd suffered the day’s greatest loss, falling $3.93 to close at $31.
Clico Investment Fund was the only active security on the Mutual Fund Market, posting a volume of 10,460 shares valued at $236,396. It remained at $22.60.
To overcome the country’s economic challenges, it is important to begin “attracting new sources of revenue, higher quality streams of investment, encourage the development of non-traditional sectors, cut unproductive and illegitimate transfers and subsidies, and change the way we perceive things,” Trade Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon told members of the Couva/Point Lisas Chamber of Commerce at their recent business forum.
She said the most fundamental change, reducing Government’s expenditure pattern, is already taking place.
“One of the key principles of this restructuring is the reassessment and reshaping of the roles of both Government and the private sector,” she said.
Gopee-Scoon said budgetary measures such as the tax on online purchases and additional income tax on individuals and companies with incomes and profits of more than $1 million are intended to “tackle the unavoidable issue of income inequality.”
She said the minor increase in diesel fuel and reintroduction of the property tax at a flat rate are not punitive measures but natural and expected transitions that any market-driven, modern country must take.
The minister further explained that to fill the gap left by falling energy revenues, the development of new, viable industries in the non-energy sector remains a priority with a focus on the maritime, creative, tourism, manufacturing and agriculture sectors.
She encouraged the business community to take advantage of incentives in these areas.
“Our policies and initiatives are not meant to improve specific indicators for specific periods, but provide the foundation for long-term and sustained growth and the improved well-being of all citizens,” she said.
Liaquat Ali, president, Couva/ Point Lisas Chamber of Commerce, in his opening remarks, called on the Government for a listening ear.
“The chamber is going to take a proactive approach to national discussions by formulating a policy for the development of the central and south areas of Trinidad with their stakeholders and present it to the Government,” she said.
Officials of the Trinidad Generation Unlimited (TGU) power plant are currently in the United States meeting with prospective investors ahead of a planned bond debut.
According to a report published online by GlobalCapital, TGU has appointed Credit Suisse and Scotiabank as joint bookrunning managers and RBC Capital Markets as bookrunner for the deal. Ratings agency Fitch said the company has been assigned a BBB/BBB- rating which reflects its state ownership and “strategic importance” to this country’s energy matrix.
The agency explained: “Additionally, the rating is supported by highly stable cash flows generated PPA (power purchase agreement) with a tolling structure that eliminates commodity risk exposure.”
Fitch further stated: “Additionally, TGU’s sole offtaker and fuel supplier, Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission (T&TEC), is owned by the Government. The company’s water supply is also guaranteed by another government controlled entity, the Water and Sewage Authority of Trinidad and Tobago.”
It said all these factor are evidence of the “strategic importance of the asset and alignment to the sovereign’s overall objective to maintain low energy prices at a competition edge for private investment.”
TGU officials are due to hold meetings in Los Angeles today, in London on Monday and New York on Wednesday.
The US$740 million TGU power generation facility at Union Industrial Estate, La Brea, was officially launched on October 30, 2013.
Overall market activity resulted from trading in 12 securities of which four advanced, two declined and six traded firm. Trading activity on the First Tier Market registered a volume of 207,405 shares crossing the floor of the Exchange valued at $1,352,969.82.
JMMB Group Limited was the volume leader with 115,440 shares changing hands for a value of $92,352, followed by Guardian Holdings Limited with a volume of 76,289 shares being traded for $961,241.40.
GraceKennedy Limited contributed 6,901 shares with a value of $17,735.57, while FirstCaribbean International Bank Limited added 4,535 shares valued at $35,418.35.
FirstCaribbean International Bank Limited enjoyed the day’s largest gain, increasing $0.06 to end the day at $7.81. Conversely, Republic Financial Holdings Limited suffered the day’s greatest loss, falling $0.98 to close at $110.
The Mutual Fund Market did not record any activity.
Pepsi-Cola Trinidad Bottling Company Limited (PCT) is being sold to Caribbean Distribution Partners Limited, a jointly owned subsidiary of Agostini’s Limited and Goddard Enterprises Limited, for US$13 million.
In a notice to shareholders yesterday, Agostini’s chairman JP Esau said the purchase will be finalised on November 1. The cost to Agostini’s will be US$6.5 million.
PCT is the licensee and distributor in T&T of the PepsiCo range of beverages—Pepsi, Mountain Dew, 7UP and Ocean Spray—also distributes Peardrax and Cydrax under licence. The company also owns and distributes the JuC and Fizz brands and has distribution rights in Barbados for the PepsiCo brands and Peardrax and Cydrax.
Esau said: “The strategic intent is the transfer to PCT of other beverage lines that are distributed by the group, with a view of having a focused beverage marketing and distribution company which we expect will have a positive impact on our earnings over the medium to long term.”
Caribbean Distribution Partners Limited merges six companies from the two groups—Hand Arnold Trinidad Limited, Hanschell Inniss Limited, Coreas Distribution Limited, Peter & Company Ltd, Independence Agencies Limited and Desinco Limited.