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Updated: 27 min 31 sec ago

GHL up $0.29 in Friday trades

Sat, 11/18/2017 - 00:08

Overall market activity resulted from trading in 13 securities of which four advanced, four declined and five traded firm.

Trading activity on the First Tier Market registered a volume of 335,175 shares crossing the floor of the Exchange valued at $2,971,716.03. JMMB Group Limited was the volume leader with 183,936 shares changing hands for a value of $403,172.34, followed by T&T NGL Limited with a volume of 58,518 shares being traded for $1,385,526.16. Guardian Holdings Limited contributed 45,855 shares with a value of $712,742.50, while National Flour Mills Limited added 23,000 shares valued at $44,620.

Guardian Holdings Limited registered the day’s largest gain, increasing $0.29 to end the day at $15.54. Conversely, Massy Holdings Limited registered the day’s largest decline, falling $0.23 to close at $49.27.

Clico Investment Fund was the only active security on the Mutual Fund Market, posting a volume of 2,091 shares valued at $43,492.80. It remained at $20.80.

Trini honoured for ICT initiati

Sat, 11/18/2017 - 00:08

Long before Dr Didacus Jules was Director General of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, he’d already decided to get in touch with Bevil Wooding.

Jules, then the Registrar and CEO of the Caribbean Examinations Council, had read about T&T-born Wooding’s appointment by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers as one of seven people entrusted with a special cryptographic smart card that holds part of a key used to generate the Domain Name Server Security Extensions (DNSSEC) protocol.

As head of the regional body that provides primary, secondary and post-secondary examination and education services, Jules was particularly interested in preparing Caribbean youth to make the most of emerging opportunities in the digital economy. He realised that Wooding was just the man for the job.

As it happened, their first meeting would be two months in the making. It was a chance encounter—they were seated side by side in business class on a five-hour Barbados-Denver flight—but they hit the ground running. Almost literally. Descending over Colorado, the two had already mapped out a full programme of collaboration between CXC and Congress WBN, the Caribbean-birthed faith-based non-profit organisation with operations in more than 100 countries, of which Wooding serves as Chief Knowledge Officer.

Within weeks, he was bringing a digital revolution to Caribbean education, planting the seeds for CXC’s Digital Media Syllabus and first digitally administered examination.

“Bevil’s contribution was invaluable in helping CXC move towards becoming what I call an IT Intelligent organisation, leveraging ICT for efficiency and cost effectiveness and changing the way in which we work,” Jules said.

“Three years later, when I left CXC to become the Director General of the OECS, one of my first appointments was to make him the Advisor for Strategic ICT to the Director General. It was and is a non-remunerated position, and Bevil has made an incalculable contribution to the elaboration of a strategic ICT masterplan to undergird the deepening of integration of the ten member-states of the OECS.”

Wooding serves as Caribbean Outreach Manager for the American Registry for Internet Numbers, and as a Strategic Advisor for the Caribbean Telecommunications Union. Bernadette Lewis, Secretary General of the CTU, described her camaraderie with Wooding as a longstanding cooperative partnership between “committed collaborators.”

Ronald Hinds, who started Trinidad-based software development firm Teleios Systems Limited with Kevin Khelawan and Wooding in 1997, described his co-founder as “a champion of technologies that have the power to empower the voiceless and the invisible.”

He added: “Many hearing or reading of Bevil’s contribution in the field of technology might be tempted to think that it’s about the bits and bytes. But it has always been about providing opportunities to use the emerging and available technologies to open entirely new doors.”

Throughout the Caribbean, Wooding has harnessed the Internet as a catalyst for development, earning himself a reputation as a change-agent. Shernon Osepa, Manager of Regional Affairs for Latin America and the Caribbean for the Internet Society, described him as “a visionary who believes that the Caribbean Economy can be enhanced through ICTs and Internet development.”

As an Internet Strategist for the US-based non-profit research firm Packet Clearing House, Wooding has also played an important role in establishing Internet exchanges in Barbados, Belize, BVI, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago. Bill Woodcock, Executive Director of Packet Clearing House and member of the ARIN Board of Trustees, said Wooding’s leadership is “inspirational” and that his work has “brought lasting benefits to the Caribbean.”

On November 17, Wooding was honoured at the 24th annual Caribbean American Heritage Awards which celebrate achievements of people of Caribbean descent who have made outstanding contributions to their fields of expertise.

“Mr. Bevil Wooding is a virtual technology ambassador, evangelist and pioneer and we are honoured to present him with this year’s Caribbean American Heritage Award,” said Dr. Claire Nelson, Founder and President of Institute of Caribbean Studies.

“Mr. Wooding demonstrates the region’s capacity to innovate and create world-class thought leaders in any arena, and we hope people throughout the Caribbean can be moved and inspired by his accomplishments and devotion to making technology accessible to all,” she added.

Wooding received the award at a formal ceremony in Washington DC.

Balmoral bring 1,778 visitors to Trinidad

Sat, 11/18/2017 - 00:06

Tourism Minister Shamfa Cudjoe conducted the time honoured tradition of crest exchange with the captain of the MV Balmoral, Master Lars Kjelden, during the vessel’s maiden call to the Port of Port of Spain this week. Discussions are ongoing to rebuild the relationship for a renewed interest in Trinidad. Sister ships, however, continue to make calls to Tobago.

Owned and operated by Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, the MV Balmoral set sail from Southampton, England, carrying 1,778 British and UK passengers. It is the largest of Fred Olsen’s four cruise ships but still retains the warm, intimate and friendly atmosphere found across the cruise fleet. Balmoral takes her name from the Scottish residence of the British Royal Family and features 710 well-appointed rooms and suites.

During the crest exchange ceremony on board the vessel, Cudjoe extended a warm and hearty welcome to the captain, passengers and crew to Trinidad.

“This development is very exciting for our tourism sector and we look forward to further enhancing the relationship with the Fred Olsen Cruise Line, one of the leaders in the cruise industry,” she said.

Kjelden thanked the minister, representatives from the Port Authority of T&T, ship’s agent and others present for the warm welcome on behalf of his passengers and crew.

Disembarking passengers engaged in a range of pre-arranged tours including tours of Port of Spain, Caroni Bird Sanctuary and Las Cuevas and a visit to the Starliff panyard to witness pan tuning first-hand and enjoy sweet pan music as well as a cultural showcase at City Hall.

The cruise industry is the fastest growing segment of the worldwide leisure travel market; experiencing an average passenger growth rate of 7.4 per cent per annum since 1980. For the 2017/2018 cruise season, T&T will be experiencing positive arrival numbers; 75 calls in Tobago and in Trinidad 24 calls. Last year T&T welcomed 29 calls.

The Ministry of Tourism has been actively laying the groundwork to develop additional cruise shipping revenue streams.

Crime, forex shortage impeding investments

Sat, 11/18/2017 - 00:04

United States Chargé d’Affaires John McIntyre says the foreign exchange shortage and crime are impediments to US investment in T&T and some US companies have even threatened lawsuits against importers who could not settle their bills because of restricted access to US currency.

McIntyre, who was speaking at the San Fernando City Hall auditorium during a US Embassy Cocktail Reception, said embassy officials have been repeatedly questioned about the foreign exchange situation.

“I can’t solve the foreign exchange thing but we have to be very truthful. It is a big hindrance for American companies when they think about coming here,” he said.

Access to US currency has been a major problem for local importers since 2014 following a sharp and quick decline in energy prices. McIntyre said many US company have been asking the Embassy why they cannot get paid, or requesting assistance to hire attorneys to sue local companies.

“We say, ‘Why are you going to sue them? They literally can’t get the money.’ Our business folks show up here and say, ‘Wait, you’re not lying.’”

Although police have been reporting decreases in serious crime over the last three years, McIntyre said it continues to be a drag on potential investment as companies would not want to set up in T&T if they think their employees or investments are not safe.

“We have some large service companies here that are interested in expanding out of the IQor and other places. They’re going to feel like they’re not going to want to come if they think their employees or their families are not going to be safe, local or expat,” he said.

McIntyre said the main US Government’s main focus in T&T was counter-terrorism followed by criminal justice.

“Obviously crime is a significant issue here in Trinidad and Tobago just like it is in the United States. We think we have expertise to share and we need to focus on that with you all. I think we’ve seen a lot of co-operation,” he said.

$4.5m in shares change hands

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 00:49

Overall market activity resulted from trading in 17 securities of which four advanced, six declined and seven traded firm.

Trading activity on the First Tier Market registered a volume of 636,667 shares crossing the floor of the Exchange valued at $4,564,525.30. JMMB Group Ltd was the volume leader with 353,676 shares changing hands for a value of $757,833.70, followed by GraceKennedy Ltd with a volume of 70,778 shares being traded for $212,334. Sagicor Financial Corporation Ltd contributed 63,620 shares with a value of $505,779, while Guardian Holdings Ltd added 47,810 shares valued at $729,085.

Guardian Holdings Ltd registered the day’s largest gain, increasing $0.25 to end the day at $15.25. Conversely, Clico Investment Fund registered the day’s largest decline, falling $0.20 to close at $20.80. It was the only active security on the Mutual Fund Market, posting a volume of 200 shares valued at $4,160.

Auditor General raises concerns about oil data

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 21:59

As state oil company Petrotrin awaits the findings of Canadian company Kroll into the “fake oil” scandal relating to overpayment to a contractor for oil from the Catshill Field, the Auditor General is raising concerns about the process being used to verify oil and gas supplied by oil companies to the Ministry of Energy.

In his April 2017 report, Auditor General Majeed Ali said he has been reporting on lack of data for the last three years and the only response from the ministry is that verification of oil and gas is done by calibration of meters at fiscalisation points and witnessing of metres at loading of crude at ports.

The Auditor General said the Measurement Unit of the Ministry of Energy is constrained by a shortage of manpower and lack of measurement training. As a result, 75 per cent of planned activities are not done, so the accuracy of revenue from royalties and share of profits from oil companies cannot be assessed.

According to the Auditor General, at the time of the audit of the Ministry of Energy in January, royalties from 11 oil companies as at September 30, 2016, were outstanding. In addition, quarterly and annual reconciliations of royalties due and received were not produced for nine of the 11 oil companies as required by petroleum regulations.

The report also highlighted concerns about quarrying operations which fall under the ambit of the Ministry of Energy. It noted that of the 103 quarry operators in the country only seven have valid licences, 76 are operating with expired licences and 19 are operating with no licence. There is one new application to operate a quarry.

From a sample of 20 operational quarries selected for audit, royalties were not collected from 16 operators.

The report also noted that five operators mining on private land did not provide proof of ownership of the mineral rights in order to be exempted from paying royalties and evidence was not seen that royalties were received for the financial year 2015/2016.

The Auditor General said production data relating to the quantity of minerals mined, processed and sold for 17 operators was not submitted.

Roget: Workers facing unemployment

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 21:59

President of the Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) Ancel Roget, who is predicting a one-third cut in the workforce of State-owned Petrotrin, has told workers not to stay in a “comatose” state but to band together to stop Government from implementing regressive policies.

Speaking at a Conference of Shop Stewards and Branch Officers (Cossabo) at the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union headquarters in San Fernando, Roget said while Government continues to mismanage T&T’s resources, the workforce was being forced to bear extreme hardship. He said workers throughout the country are facing unemployment.

“Government’s policy is to bring revenue in line with expenditure and the net effect of that is workers will pay the price. They have sent home people to bring the books in line. They saying we don’t want to go to IMF because IMF will impose conditional deals that Trinidad and Tobago will find hard to bear but they are preparing the country for a flurry of IMF intervention,” Roget said.

He said Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley is disrespecting the trade union movement and the working class. After the budget Roget said a letter was sent to Rowley in October calling for changes to Government’s policy. He said Rowley never even had the courtesy to send an acknowledgment of the letter.

“When you raise the cost of fuel and increase taxation on the purchase of hybrid vehicles you bring hardship on people. This is not a people’s budget,” he said.

Roget said people must be prepared to defend the working class and stop Government from imposing further hardship.

Clico Fund holds steady at $21

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 23:49

Overall market activity resulted from trading in 11 securities of which three advanced, one declined and seven traded firm.

Trading activity on the First Tier Market registered a volume of 237,191 shares crossing the floor of the Exchange valued at $959,147.31. JMMB Group Limited was the volume leader with 91,831 shares changing hands for a value of $201,928.20, followed by GraceKennedy Limited with a volume of 52,452 shares being traded for $157,356. FirstCaribbean International Bank Limited contributed 33,937 shares with a value of $313,667.25, while L.J. Williams Limited B added 31,000 shares valued at $24,120.

FirstCaribbean International Bank Limited registered the day’s largest gain, increasing $0.24 to end the day at $9.24. Conversely, Sagicor Financial Corporation Limited suffered the day’s sole decline, falling $0.03 to end the day at $7.96.

Clico Investment Fund was the only active security on the Mutual Fund Market, posting a volume of 2,102 shares valued at $44,142. It remained at $21.

Japan honours Massy CEO

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 23:48

President and Group CEO of Massy Gervase Warner has been honoured by the Japanese government for his role in strengthening economic relations between Japan and T&T. He is the first T&T national to be presented with the Order of the Rising Sun, an award given to foreign nationals for their contributions to deepening relations between Japan and their partners.|

“On behalf of the Massy Group, I am honoured and humbled to accept this distinguished order. I am deeply grateful to my Massy colleagues who worked alongside me in forging those relationships,” Warner said.

“Both government administrations, the former under the leadership of former Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and the current administration led by Prime Minister Keith Rowley, were welcoming of Japanese investments. Both were exceptionally supportive of the relations between Massy, as the only local private sector investor in the petrochemicals plant, and Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation.”

The ceremony to formally recognise Warner is expected to take place in December. Massy said in a statement that Warner was being recognised for his “contribution to the promotion of trade in Japanese products and services in Trinidad and Tobago’s automotive industry and his role in shepherding negotiations between the Massy Group and the Mitsubishi Consortium, which led to the formation of the Caribbean Gas Chemical Ltd in 2013 and the eventual 2015 project agreement for the establishment of the natural gas to petrochemicals complex for the production of dimethylether or DME.

Get in position for China trade

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 23:47

With the global economy projected to double in size by 2032 and current economic trends indicating that China is set to outstrip the US and become the world’s largest economy by 2030, local businesses are being urged to position themselves to take advantage of trading opportunities there.

Managing director of INVENI Global Sourcing Solutions Michelle Low Chew Tung said businesses that do proper research and carefully followed the advice of those already in trading partnerships with reputable Chinese firms could enjoy financial and commercial success.

As part of Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), Low Chew Tung yesterday hosted a seminar, Sourcing From China, at the House of Angostura in Laventille, where she provided an insight for business people seeking to enter the commercial market in China as well as expand their operations.

Her firm offers a range of services, from sourcing raw materials, brokering commercial prices, custom manufacturing, arranging samples, ensuring quality control, shipping logistics, factory audits and business trips to China for clients.

Guest speaker Dr Kevin Fleary outlined the operating procedures used by many Chinese firms. He said they are producing goods in quantities which they are not able to consume which is pushing them to seek new markets abroad.

He said as manufacturing processes continue to change daily, new standards are forcing many firms to close their doors. However, local businessmen need to capitalise on emerging trends and position themselves to realise the benefits of global change, he added.

The economic growth of China was highlighted in a study conducted by PriceWaterhouse Coopers (PWC) earlier this year. The study also indicates that India is likely to become the third global economic giant, ahead of Brazil which is expected to move up to fourth place ahead of Japan. PWC said as emerging economies become bigger and wealthier, the demand for services will increase—a phenomenon which is already shaping global markets.

Cuts at Nedco after $224m in bad loans

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 23:46

The National Infrastructure Development Company Limited (Nedco) which had a total of $224 million in non-performing loans and accumulated debt, is consolidating operations, closing offices and eyeing rationalisation of staff. Nedco chairman Clarry Benn and new CEO Albert Chow spoke about the various issues yesterday when they and other officials of the state company appeared before Parliament’s Public Accounts (Enterprises) Committee. (PAEC)

Benn said Nedco is at a crossroad, in transition and in urgent need of strong visionary management to ensure its revised mandate.

“In its current form, the business isn’t sustainable,” he said.

He said there were non-performing loans of about 77 per cent and worth $94 million involving 4,000 customers. Nedco also has $150 million in accumulated debt.

PAEC member David Small noted that Nedco does about 400 loans monthly—about eight weekly—spread around its 12 offices where operating costs for the 100 employees involved was $30 million. Something was “wrong there”, he said.

Small said while he didn’t advocate job loss, T&T’s tight economic circumstances demanded value for money. He said Nedco requires radical adjustment since taxpayers’ money is involved. Benn agreed.

Chow said since Nedco has received less funding, consolidation of offices is “on the cards.” He said offices have been closed, including in Sangre Grande, and therefore “one would logically look at rationalisation of staff.”

Benn said Nedco got to where it is due to the quality of its management over the years. He cited a Price Waterhouse Coopers’ report of April 2016 which detailed issues and said the message from the 15 year old company in its early days “may have been inappropriate.”

“People applying for loans may have seen it as grant financing and as it came from a Government agency didn’t feel the need to repay loans. We met some from way back and those people said they never knew they had to repay,” he said.

Nedco has a debt collection agency seeking repayments and monthly collections have been $1.5 million.

Some people have absconded but Nedco business analyst Curtis Mayers said the company never gives up. An integrated loan/account management platform is currently being strengthened will be on stream in February, he said.

Small said Nedco was “broken and needs complete overhaul”. Advocating prudent management of taxpayers’ funds, he noted that the company’s website featured pictures of a year-end party.

Benn said Nedco will be getting new senior management from the first quarter of 2018 after some staff contracts end. A strategic plan is in the works. He said Nedco needed rebranding since in its current shape it wouldn’t obtain assistance from the domestic market. Once hurdles are cleared, he said, the “sky’s the limit.”

Mayers said some Nedco success stories include Vidia Gobin whose pepper sauce initiative grew from a home business to large scale with ten employees, winning a Caribbean Food Championship in Las Vegas.

Ansa McAL assets cross $14b

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 01:34

Ansa McAL’s total asset base have crossed the $14 billion mark, an improvement of 3 per cent over the prior year, while revenue to total assets ratio remains at over 30 per cent.

Group chairman A Norman Sabga said the results reflect the full consolidation of the assets of three regional Berger Paints companies. However, in accordance with the Accounting Standards, revenues and profitability reflect the results since the acquisition date of July 24. The full benefit of the acquisition will be experienced in 2018. “The manufacturing, packaging and brewing segment recorded a 6 per cent-plus growth whilst the financial services segment reported an 8 per cent-plus growth,” he said.

“Due to significant contraction in consumer spending, the automotive, trading and distribution segment declined by 61 per cent whilst media, services, retail and parent company declined by 54 per cent. Our overseas territories have recorded strong growth.”

Sabga said the increase in statutory tax rate reduced the group’s reported profit after tax (PAT) by $26 million and contributed to the lower earnings per share (EPS) result. As a consequence the group’s effective tax rate increased significantly compared with the prior period.

“Despite these challenges,” he said, “group consolidated revenues reported for the nine months ended September 30, 2017 were broadly consistent with the previous comparative period, closing the period at $4,371 million ($4,376 million – 2016). Profit before tax decreased by 13 per cent to $598 million (690 million – 2016). Profit after taxation (PAT) generated was $416.8 million ($527.8 million – 2016), whilst earnings per share was $2.02 ($2.63 – 2016) both representing a decline of 23 per cent.

“The Group is now in its peak trading period (October to December) and despite the challenging economy and the increased costs of doing business, we remain confident of our ability to continue to deliver superior returns to our shareholders.”

Volume leader NGL posts $0.03 gain

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 01:33

Overall market activity resulted from trading in nine securities of which two advanced, two declined and five traded firm.

Trading activity on the First Tier Market registered a volume of 41,537 shares crossing the floor of the Exchange valued at $881,257.45. T&T NGL Limited was the volume leader with 21,890 shares changing hands for a value of $515,064.50, followed by First Citizens Bank Limited with a volume of 7,984 shares being traded for $253,891.20. NCB Financial Group Limited contributed 6,530 shares with a value of $42,445, while

National Enterprises Limited added 2,533 shares valued at $24,696.75.

T&T NGL Limited registered the day’s largest gain, increasing $0.03 to end the day at $23.53. Conversely, Clico Investment Fund registered the day’s largest decline, falling $0.01 to close at $21.

Clico Investment Fund was the only active security on the Mutual Fund Market, posting a volume of 11,233 shares valued at $235,893.

CWU willing to work with new TSTT chairman

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 01:32

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has given Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley one week to intervene in the situation at the Telecommunication Services of T&T (TSTT). Failing this, the union will seek the support of the Opposition to expose a situation they claim is “untenable.”

At a press conference at the CWU Hall, Port-of-Spain, Secretary General Clyde Elder called for a “full scale forensic audit” into TSTT’s operations and cited excerpts from an Ernst and Young report to highlight his concerns about a transaction between TSTT and Fujitsu for acquisition of an Oracle Unlimited License Agreement (ULA).

Elder claimed the ULA did not go through a proper tendering process and was not approved by the TSTT board as there was none in place at the time. He warned of serious legal implications for TSTT.

In a November 8 letter to Rowley, Elder reiterated the union’s objections to the impending closure of nine TSTT retail stores.

“The union is of the firm belief that the decision to close down the retail stores would only benefit a few elites and senior managers in TSTT. In fact, we believe some corrupt practices have occurred and are still occurring,” he said.

The closure of the retail stores is expected to affect more than 300 permanent employees at TSTT.

Commenting on the appointment of economist Robert Mayers as the new TSTT chairman, Elder said: “I think government missed a golden opportunity to appoint someone who has knowledge, experience and expertise in the telecommunications field to run TSTT at this critical time. Robert Mayers’ expertise is in the financial sector.”

However, he said Mayers is a very “straight-forward, straight-as-it-is, honest-speaking gentleman.”

“If that is his disposition, which we believe it to be, we are ready, willing and able to work with him.”

Gas supply woes continue for Atlantic

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 01:27

Fluctuations in the gas supply continue to pose challenges for Atlantic. According to CEO Nigel Darlow, the situation is burning up the company’s bottom line and tearing into the operations of its plant.

“This has been a year which has again seen very significant gas supply shortages to our plant, with rates down at around 70 per cent utilisation. This has had a significant impact on the business, not only the considerable lost revenue opportunity, but the operational challenges of having to continually adjust to gas supply fluctuations,” he said at yesterday’s opening ceremony of AmchamTT’s HSSE Conference and Exhibition at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Port-of-Spain.

What is clear, Darlow said, is that Atlantic’s plant is not on steady operation which makes things more complicated by putting additional strain on plant and equipment as well as the people operating and maintaining them. This has had an adverse effect on the reliability of the plant which is “lower than normal”, he added.

However, the Trinidad Onshore Compression (TROC) gas supply project, which became operational in April, provides “an important source of increased gas supply,” said Darlow, who expects the gas supply situation to improve over the short to medium term when Juniper increases its flows into the system and other sources come online.

On the issue of safety, he said Atlantic has seen a drop in its performance.

“Back in August we had a gas release on Train 3 due to a failure of a control valve. Fortunately, nobody was hurt in the incident but things could have turned out very differently. The train was shutdown for 11 days while repairs were undertaken and safety check carried out.

Then a month afterwards, Atlantic had a fire on one of our nine power generation units. Again, nobody was injured but it did cause damage to the unit,” he said.

Darlow said the company had spent a lot of time investigating the incidents and had put in place corrective action to ensure there is no repeat. Trade Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon, in her remarks at the event, said Government is serious about the Cybercrime Bill.

“To boost confidence and attract investors, the Government is treating seriously with the matter of cyber-security and cyber-crime. The Cybercrime Bill, which is currently before a Joint Select Committee of Parliament, seeks to create offences related to cybercrimes and repeal and replace existing, outdated legislation,” she said.

“Some of the new offences in the Bill relate to the illegal access to computer systems, illegal data interference, offences against critical infrastructure, computer-related fraud and computer-related forgery.

Additionally, new agencies will be established to boost the law enforcement system to streamline operational efficiency through better allocation of resources.”

First Citizens down $0.17

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 23:54

Overall market activity resulted from trading in 13 securities of which one advanced, four declined and eight traded firm.

Trading activity on the First Tier Market registered a volume of 265,924 shares crossing the floor of the Exchange valued at $2,069,034.09. GraceKennedy Limited was the volume leader with 70,213 shares changing hands for a value of $207,128.35, followed by JMMB Group Limited with a volume of 58,315 shares being traded for $121,749.85. National Flour Mills Limited contributed 53,012 shares with a value of $103,654.59, while One Caribbean Media Limited added 47,046 shares valued at $658,644.

JMMB Group Limited enjoyed the day’s sole price increase, climbing $0.02 to end the day at $2.09. Conversely, First Citizens Bank Limited registered the day’s largest decline, falling $0.17 to close at $31.80.

Clico Investment Fund was the only active security on the Mutual Fund Market, posting a volume of 16,457 shares valued at $345,707.09. It declined by $0.03 to end at $21.01.

Trinity records 7.4 per cent production increase

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 21:59

Independent exploration and production comopany Trinity is reporting a 7.4 per cent increase in its productiion volumes for three-month period ended September 30. The increase is to 2,506 barrels of oil per day (bopd), up from 2,333 bopd in the previous quarter.

The energy company said the increase in production wasachieved through implementing its planned programme of recompletions, workovers, reactivations and swabbing.

There has been urther profitable production growth since the quarter end, with an average production rate of 2,754 bopd recorded last month and a cash balance at the end of the third quarter was US$ 12.3 million.

In its financial statement for the quarter, Trinity said it remains focused on growing production and maximising financial returns. The high value-added, near-term work programme, combined with low operating costs, underpins confidence that the robust financial performance will continue during the fourth quarter ahead of initiating drilling operations in the first quarter of 2018.

Executive chairman Bruce Dingwall said: “As a board, we have continued to maintain financial discipline on our capital spend and operating costs during the period.

“Our focus on the low hanging fruit, through our recompletion, reactivation, swabbing and workover programme has resulted in a 7.4 per cent quarter-on-quarter increase in production and we anticipate further growth in production and profitability during the remainder of the year.”

Aluminium proposal goes to Energy committee

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 21:59

An international consortium will make a presentation on an aspect of the aluminium industry to Cabinet’s Energy Sub Committee tomorrow.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, who made the announcement at last Sunday’s PNM convention in Port of Spain, said a great deal of interest is being revived in the Tamana InTech Park, a facility specifically designed for technology and innovation-driven enterprises.

“We’re currently giving consideration to requests from both international and local investors to set up operations within the facility,” he said.

“After months of discussion an international consortium has completed a feasibility study on their interest in an aspect of the aluminium industry in Trinidad. A presentation on this proposal is scheduled to be made to the Energy Sub Committee.”

Rowley also said movement is ahead on a recent report to guide Petrotrin’s turnaround.

Noting state-owned Petrotrin’s debt is now $13 billion, he added: “The refinery is losing money on every barrel of oil it refines and the company isn’t doing that which all oil companies must do—drill to find and extract more oil. We’ve set up a specialist committee to examine their operations. The report of this exercise will soon be examined in Parliament.”

He said a major review of Petrotrin’s business has been undertaken.

“A new board mandated to fix the chronic problems has begun to focus on all aspects of management and operations, including allegations of questionable measurements of fiscalised oil in its farmout programme”

However Rowley expressed concern about future implications of continuing high public debt, now $93 billion, of which $38 billion has been incurred by state enterprises and statutory bodies like WASA and TTEC.

He said the debt size will force Government to continue borrowing.

“There are many other areas which cannot be just left behind or taken off the table, many other wider responsibilities which must be attended. We can only meet the projected lower levels of expenditure with the involvement of significant borrowings to close the shortfall between revenues and anticipated expenditure,” he said.

“We’ve been required to borrow to ease the burden of the downward adjustment. The truth is that at this time we’re borrowing significant sums to sustain our current standard of living. As laudable as this, it cannot be sustained. We must get out of this situation as quickly as possible, otherwise our future will be endangered. We therefore have to keep a close eye on our public debt profile and foreign reserve situation.”

Rowley said despite T&T’s circumstances, net official foreign reserves still stand at US$8.5 billion, representing ten months of import cover.

Europe’s top tour operators to visit T&T

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 21:59

The T&T delegation at the World Travel Market (WTM) in London completed its series of meetings with international travel trade professionals, airline representatives and global tourism stakeholders yesterday. As a result of those talks, a leading company in the travel and tourism industry in German-speaking countries has expressed interest in selling destination Trinidad.

Tourism Minister Shamfa Cudjoe and other officials met with executives of the international travel company to discuss plans to bring more than 100 of Europe’s top tour operators to Trinidad in 2018.

While more than 40 per cent of Trinidad’s visitors come from the United States, the new marketing thrust is to diversify the current source market pool to attract visitors from non-traditional source markets.

Cudjoe gave the international travel company a commitment to further the relationship and expressed excitement about the upcoming opportunity to showcase Trinidad.

“This is exciting because we are expanding our offerings. Tobago gives you that quintessential Caribbean experience, but Trinidad has a big chunk of South America in it,” she said.

Held annually at ExCel London Building, United Kingdom, WTM is the most important platform in the world for the travel industry and is visited by more 51,000 members of the international tourism industry.

Local entrepreneur wins global award

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 21:59

Local entrepreneur Maria Borneo, who operates a pastelle making business, has won the merit award in Shell’s LiveWIRE’s top ten global innovators competition. The announcement was made at yesterday’s media launch of Shell’s LiveWIRE global entrepreneurship project at Shell’s Hospitality Suite. Queen’s Park Oval, Port-of-Spain.

Leslie Bowrin, Shell T&T’s external relations advisor, said the programme will support local enterprise by helping entrepreneurs turn their ideas into long-term sources of income. He said Shell had partnered with Youth Business T&T (YBTT) over the last three years and the launch of Shell LiveWIRE builds on that partnership.

A Youth Enterprise Development programme provides business training, networking, mentorship and loan financing for both startup and existing businesses, he added

“In January 2018, YBTT will implement the Shell LiveWIRE programme with a pilot project that supports business growth and develops and strengthens entrepreneurs,” Bowrin said.

The initiative targets young people, innovative entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs capable of supplying goods and services to oil and gas operators and contractors, he explained.

“The pilot programme will support the expansion of identified under-developed economic sectors such as waste management and recycling,” Bowrin said

Dr Kieron Swift. of the Economic Development Advisory Board, commented in his keynote address on the impact Shell’s LiveWIRE project will have on the country’s innovation agenda.

“Programmes like Shell LiveWIRE stimulate innovation by building capacity among the next generation of innovators,” he said.

“Since 1982 over 9.2 million young entrepreneurs have benefitted from Shell LiveWIRE programmes through obtaining access to the essential business knowledge and customised support they need to transform their enterprising ideas into viable and sustainable businesses.”

Swift said the best example of innovation-driven entrepreneurship over the last four years is the ideas 2 innovation programme which ran from 2012 to 2016.

“During that four-year period we attracted 1688 applications and gave out 185 non-reimbursable grants totalling $18.4 million,” he said.

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