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Overall market activity resulted from trading in 12 securities of which two advanced, two declined and eight traded firm.
On the First-Tier Market 149,103 shares changed hands for a value of $657,370.51. National Flour Mills Limited was the most active security, with a volume of 58,803 shares valued at $105,788.50. GraceKennedy Limited contributed 55,385 shares with a value of $160,616.50. JMMB Group Limited contributed 19,785 shares with a value of $36,602.25, while Readymix (West Indies) Limited added 4,792 shares with a value of $52,712.00. 11
Clico Investment Fund was the only active security on the TTD Mutual Fund Market, posting a volume of 2,100 shares valued at $ 42,903.
In Thursday’s trading session the following reflect the movement of the indices:
• The All T&T Index declined by -0.22 points (-0.01 per cent) to close at 1,720.33 .
• The Composite Index advanced by 2.42 points (0.20 per cent) to close at 1,226.31 .
• The Cross Listed Index advanced by 0.70 points (0.72 per cent) to close at 98.35.
T&T’s trade relations with the United States just got sweeter. A container of confectionary products will soon be leaving this country, as a US buyer has cemented ties with a local manufacturer following the recently concluded Trade and Investment Convention (TIC) at the Centre of Excellence, Macoya.
During the event, exporTT, in collaboration with the T&T Manufacturers Association (TTMA), targeted buyers from the region and North America.
Betty-Ann Noreiga-Mollineau, exporTT’s manager, export and communications, told the T&T Guardian: “The buyer already sent the order and this will be shipped very soon. This will be on a consistent basis.
“Good news for the country regarding trade and export relations and also to generate much needed foreign exchange.”
Dietrich Guichard, exporTT’s CEO, said after last year’s TIC there was also a sizeable confectionary order of over US$15,000 that was shipped to the Dominican Republic.
Regarding business-to-business (B2B) meetings held this year, Noreiga-Mollineau quoted that figure as 114 of which 44 leads will be turned into commercial orders with foreign buyers in the short term which entails products from all sectors.
“Then we have 47 leads in the medium term which will include everybody—small, medium and large local businesses—again being turned into orders,” she said.
“It was great that we were invited to totally handle it this year and just coming out of our board meeting they want us to expand the TIC further based on this year’s success.
“We will be looking at more space, more booths and bringing in buyers from additional international markets and having meetings for a greater number of local companies,” Guichard added.
T&T continues to attract international firms which create new employment opportunities for its citizens. More than 100 persons have been employed to provide support at international airline carrier American Airlines’ reservation centre in Port of Spain. The new offices, which were formally opened on Tuesday in Maraval, service the Caribbean, the Pacific, the Americas and Europe.
Minister of Trade Paula Gopee-Scoon, who spoke at the formal opening of the centre, said: “This event further expands and adds value to the country’s business process outsourcing agenda. The 100-plus employees hired by American Airlines builds on the 600 jobs already created by iQor, the 750 opportunities generated by Scotia Bank’s recently established back office support and BHP Billiton’s local operations.”
Wellesley Joseph, American Airlines’ Country Director, expressed pleasure with the existing operations.
“This is a major point of pride for our local colleagues as it highlights the importance of our people and our country to American Airlines,” he said.
Overall market activity resulted from trading in 11 securities of which six advanced, four declined and one traded firm.
Trading activity on the First Tier Market registered a volume of 72,532 shares crossing the floor of the Exchange valued at $2,014,776. Agostini’s Limited was the volume leader with 61,500 shares changing hands for a value of $1,298,265, followed by Scotiabank T&T Limited with a volume of 4,251 shares being traded for $276,737.60. Republic Financial Holdings Limited contributed 3,266 shares with a value of $335,726.59, while Calypso Macro Index Fund added 1,052 shares valued at $18,306.80.
Scotiabank T&T Limited registered the day’s largest gain, increasing $0.05 to end the day at $65.10. Conversely, The West Indian Tobacco Company Limited registered the day’s largest decline, falling $0.22 to close at $87.
On the Mutual Fund Market 25,917 shares changed hands for a value of $526,967.04. Clico Investment Fund was the most active security, with a volume of 24,865 shares valued at $508,660.24. It advanced by $0.03 to end at $20.46. Calypso Macro Index Fund declined by $0.09 to end at $17.40.
In Wednesday’s trading session the following reflect the movement of the TTSE Indices:
• The Composite Index declined by 0.08 points (0.01 per cent) to close at 1,223.89.
• The All T&T Index declined by 0.48 points (0.03 per cent) to close at 1,720.55.
• The Cross Listed Index advanced by 0.04 points (0.04 per cent) to close at 97.65.
Petrotrin chairman Wilfred Espinet said cost reduction initiatives undertaken by the interim executive team installed at the energy company resulted in a second quarter profit after tax of $85.6 million.
“The installation of a new executive team from the beginning of March and the implementation of the strategies developed together with experts’ advice produced noticeable results in reducing cost and cutting waste,” he said.
“The mandate given to the board, to make Petrotrin a sustainable profitable entity, through proper governance and management of a competitive business, is planned in three phases: Survive, Thrive and Grow.
For the past three months, the focus was on the first phase, “Survive”. Discretionary spending that was not adding tangible benefits to the operations was reduced and we concentrated on cutting waste.”
Espinet said results for the period ended June 30 followed a loss of $517.5 million for the quarter ended March 31.
Recently published results showed a decrease in the state owned company’s operating costs of $92.4 million when compared to the same quarter last year and a decrease of $41.9 million when compared to the quarter ending March 31.
In addition, Petrotrin earned $18 billion in revenue for the nine months ending June 30 —a 21.2 per cent increase with the corresponding period in 2017, which Espinet was due to higher oil prices.
He said in a statement accompanying the financial results: “Earnings before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA) increased to $1,767.4 million, or 80 per cent more than the 2017 result for the comparable period. Despite the enhanced operating results, the Group incurred a loss before tax of $242.8 million which translated to a loss after tax of $500.7 million,” the chairman said.
Petrotrin’s asset base decreased to $31.6 billion compared with $37.4 billion for the corresponding period in 2017.
Espinet explained: “This was primarily because of the write down of our fixed asset balance for an impaired asset and the reclassification of previously capitalised borrowing cost on the ULSD project to expense.
Total debt to equity and current ratios as at June 30, 2018, were 3.49 and 0.52 respectively, compared to ratios of 1.07 and 0.41 as at June 30, 2017.
“Shareholder’s equity of $3.3 billion as at June 30, 2018, represented a decrease of 69.73 per cent when compared with the period ending June 30, 2017.”
The chairman said Petrotrin is embarking on the next phase of its restructuring programme, Thrive, where the focus will be on “designing the organization built for purpose around its operational units.”
He added: “As we embark on this phase, we will consult with all stakeholders to garner support for what is undoubtedly a monumental exercise that will have a profound impact on all the citizenry of Trinidad and Tobago.
“The board is encouraged by the level of support and extraordinary efforts from employees and is committed to finding a sustainable solution that is equitable to all stakeholders.”
State owned Petrotrin is on the edge and has to be run as a business if it is to survive.
That was the grim picture painted by the energy company’s chairman is his contribution to a stakeholder’s form hosted by the Lloyd Best Institute at the Government Plaza Auditorium in Port-of-Spain yesterday.
“Petrotrin is at a precipice whereby immediate stability is required. It is not something that can be toyed with, negotiated over a long period of time,” he said.
“There is an immediate need to make it stable so that it can continue. The debt that is coming due is only one part of it. There are huge implications in terms of what costs it would take us to get our assets working properly.”
Espinet, who warned that it cannot be business as usual at the energy company, added: “Petrotrin had to be a business to be sustained. To be a business it has to operate within what are the rules that businesses operate in.
“I appreciate we have used Petrotrin at various times and by various people for various other functions. In some instances it served the purpose of developing people and jobs. Today, as the state has found itself unable to continue to facilitate Petrotrin, it finds itself having to operate under the rules and laws of business. It has borrowed money to operate and it has a huge debt.”
He said when he assumed responsibility as chairman last year, one of his priorities was to make Petrotrin sustainable.
“It seems that there is the volatility of oil and gas which has created a response time that is unique in the industry and Petrotrin has not been able to operate in that kind of environment. Changing times have left it frozen in a space that it cannot survive in as a business. We were brought in as a board and we were mandated to make this profitable,” he said.
However, while Ancel Roget, President General of the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU), agreed that Petrotrin had to be run as a business to survive, he was still critical of the position taken by Espinet.
“We want the company to be properly structured and based on the pillars of accountability and a sharp focus on its core responsibilities and driven by a competent, patriotic management,” he said.
Noting that Petrotrin’s latest financial results showed an after tax profit of $85.6 million for the quarter ended June 30, Roget claimed the company was only able to achieve this by cutting corners in a way that will hurt it in the long run. He also claimed that the company owes contractors $80 million.
In response, Espinet said: “I hate to speculate where he got some of his information.”
Overall market activity resulted from trading in 18 securities of which one advanced, four declined and 13 traded firm.
Trading activity on the First Tier Market registered a volume of 271,265 shares crossing the floor of the Exchange valued at $2,962,664.26.
NCB Financial Group Limited was the volume leader with 200,000 shares changing hands for a value of $1,080,000, followed by T&T NGL Limited with a volume of 19,618 shares being traded for $583,635.50.
National Enterprises Limited contributed 10,980 shares with a value of $104,859.00, while Agostini’s Limited added 10,000 shares valued at $211,000.
Sagicor Financial Corporation Limited enjoyed the day’s sole price increase, climbing $0.01 to end the day at $7.80.
Conversely, Scotiabank T&T Limited registered the day’s largest decline, falling $0.05 to close at $65.05.
Clico Investment Fund was the only active security on the Mutual Fund Market, posting a volume of 37,010 shares valued at $755,999.80. It remained at $20.43.
In Tuesday’s trading session the following reflect the movement of the TTSE Indices:
• The Composite Index declined by 0.16 points (0.01 per cent) to close at 1,223.97.
• The All T&T Index declined by 0.39 points (0.02 per cent) to close at 1,721.03.
• The Cross Listed Index advanced by 0.01 points (0.01 per cent) to close at 97.61.
There is a new option for PriceSmart customers in T&T—a new membership category, Platinum, which allows customers to earn two per cent cash back on their total purchase.
This is in addition to two existing loyalty programmes which offer customers discounts, PriceSmart Advantages and PriceSmart Travel.
Operations Vice President Dhanraj Mahabir said membership in the new category attracts an annual fee of US$85 or about TT$580 and existing members have the option of upgrading.
In remarks at yesterday’s launch at PriceSmart, Chaguanas, Mahabir said: “The cost to upgrade will be pro-rated depending on the expiration date of the current membership, but at a maximum upgrade fee of US$46 for Platinum Diamond membership upgrade, and US$51 for Platinum Business membership upgrade.”
He said the new category allows members that spend more to be rewarded more.
The two per cent cash back can be redeemed at any of the PriceSmart clubs for any item in the store.
Mahabir said PriceSmart’s goal was to pass on reduced costs to its customer base and the new Platinum membership programme represents another way for customers to benefit.
Digicel has delivered a $250 million LTE (Long Term Evolution) network to its customers.
At the launch at One Woodbrook Place yesterday,Technical Director Chandrika Samaroo said the new network was “packing superfast speeds up to ten times faster than existing 4G technology” and will deliver expanded coverage, greater reliability and superior availability.
He said this would result in glitch-free video streaming of favourite online content on a mobile device while using interactive apps at home or on-the-go.
“Our teams have worked around the clock to deliver LTE to our customers in north-west, east and central Trinidad, as well as east Tobago. South Trinidad and west Tobago will feel LTE speeds by the end of 2018,” he said.
“Don’t worry if you haven’t seen your area in the list. We’ll be stepping up the pace to deliver on our promise of a nationwide roll out within the shortest possible time,” Samaroo said.
He thanked customers for their patience and understanding with network difficulties while the upgrade was taking place.
“Our network transformation is now in full swing. Our personal and business customers can connect to the future of advanced mobile data.
“With faster speeds and ultra-low latency, our LTE will ultimately deliver and enhance experiences like virtual reality, wearable fitness trackers, remote monitoring, immersive 4K video and more,” Samaroo added.
Customers must ensure that their devices have an LTE SIM and is LTE compatible. This can be done by using Digicel’s LTE checker at www.digicelgroup.com/tt to determine if the device is supported by the LTE network.
LTE sims are available at Digicel stores.
The LTE network will enable a new generation of Internet of Things applications that can power the creation of smart homes and smart cities in T&T.
“Our islandwide LTE rollout is another example of Digicel’s continued investment and leadership in delivering an amazing network experience to our customers,” Samaroo said.
“We are in it for the long haul and are very excited about reaching more people in more places and connecting them new things at prices that will continue to be affordable.”
Overall market activity resulted from trading in 16 securities of which five advanced, two declined and nine traded firm.
Trading activity on the First Tier Market registered a volume of 353,061 shares crossing the floor of the Exchange valued at $3,333,604.95. NCB Financial Group Limited was the volume leader with 275,542 shares changing hands for a value of $1,487,926.80, followed by One Caribbean Mediua Limited with a volume of 44,000 shares being traded for $528,000. T&T NGL Limited contributed 11,035 shares with a value of $328,291.25, while The West Indian Tobacco Company Limited added 6,826 shares valued at $595,381.66.
Unilever Caribbean Limited registered the day’s largest gain, increasing $2.48 to end the day at $29.23. Conversely, Clico Investment Fund registered the day’s largest decline, falling $0.08 to close at $20.43. It was the only active security on the Mutual Fund Market, posting a volume of 1,980 shares valued at $40,447.66.
In Monday’s trading session the following reflect the movement of the TTSE Indices:
• The Composite Index advanced by 2.31 points (0.19 per cent) to close at 1,224.13.
• The All T&T Index advanced by 2.05 points (0.12 per cent) to close at 1,721.42.
• The Cross Listed Index advanced by 0.35 points (0.36 per cent) to close at 97.60.
Caribbean Information & Credit Rating Services Limited (CariCRIS) has reaffirmed the CariA- regional rating and ttA- rating on the national scale of Bourse Securities Limited (BSL). This means that the company’s level of creditworthiness within T&T and the Caribbean is good.
The regional ratings agency also maintained a stable outlook on the ratings, premised on the expectation of continued profitability and maintenance of a healthy net interest spread, notwithstanding constraints on core income in light of subdued economic conditions in T&T and ongoing investment risks globally.
“We expect the BSL Group to maintain a generally stable credit profile over the next 12-15 months, underpinned by low leverage, strong capital buffers and liquid portfolios,” CariCRIS said. “The ratings of BSL reflect the company’s continued favourable financial performance as reflected in its good diversity of income streams, improved efficiency levels and continued profitability, though lower in 2017.
“The ratings continue to be supported by good asset quality, underpinned by a diverse investment portfolio, as well as the positive impact of ongoing measures taken by the company’s management to continuously review its Enterprise Risk Management Framework.
“Also adding to the overall good credit ratings is the company’s sound asset liability management practices, which contribute to an overall strong liquidity profile.”
CariCRIS added, however, the BSL’s good ratings is tempered by the fact that its funding base “remains highly concentrated towards a small number of large institutional investors, subjecting the company to significant refinancing risks, should these investors require repayment of the associated liabilities at short notice.
On the heels of the successful launch of his own brand of dark chocolates, young businessman James Burn has landed a deal to produce a special brand of chocolates for the local Starbucks franchise.
Burns, 28, said his venture into the agri-business started on the cocoa estate owned by his family at Gran Couva in central Trinidad where he started producing his brand of JB Chocolates just over four years ago.
Using beans from the Burns Cocoa Estate, the young entrepreneur created chocolates bars in 14 flavours.
The estate produces 1.5 tonnes of cocoa beans annually—not enough to full Burns’ production demands which require 2.5 tonnes of cocoa annually—so he purchases additional cocoa from the Montserrat Hills Cocoa Farmers Co-operative Limited.
In addition, beans from his estate are sent to the co-operative where they are fermented and roasted
According to Burns, the operators of the cooperative have the experience to get the best flavour from the beans.
The young businessman said he got involved with Starbucks after officials of the global coffee shop chain approached him at a World International Chocolate Day event hosted by the Cocoa Research Centre at The UWI more than a one year ago and asked him to create an exclusive chocolate bar featuring their coffee flavour.
Burns came up with a product created from Pike Place Coffee infused with the chocolate, where a special process is used to combine the flavours. The process take approximately three days and the product is available exclusively through Starbucks.
Burns also supplies Coverture chocolates to companies in North America and will soon be getting an export license to sell JB Chocolates globally.
Sharing his formula for success in the industry, Burns explained: “It is more profitable to get into the downstream aspects of cocoa production and entrepreneurs should start with a minimum of a five-acre estate.
Burns admitted that a cocoa estate requires a lot of hard work, but added: “The reward is great. You get to understand the true nature of the cocoa and the methods used in production.”
Professor of Business Administration at the College of Business, University of Illinois, Dr Hayden Noel has urged tertiary education institutions in T&T to incorporate online learning in the professional programmes they offer to students. He said trends show young people steer more toward online portals to get information.
“If you ask someone between 16 and 20 when last have they read anything of interest and it was on paper, most of them are consuming their education online, meaning they are learning online,” he said in the keynote address at the Association of Caribbean Higher Education Administration Conference at the Hyatt Regency in Port-of-Spain.
Noel gave the example of the University of Illinois which had to change two MBA programmes, so that half is taught online to attract revenue.
He said teaching methods have also changed and tertiary institutions should move away from testing academic ability and instead test competence through course work.
“To me, testing is a waste of time. Teach people how to perform, teach people the skills they need and empower them to do it. We need competencies,” Noel said.
He also noted that universities are creating professionals but have nowhere to place them and wondered whether they had done due diligence through market research.
It is clear, he said, that tertiary education must be accessible to all, so online education is necessary.
Noel said admission to a university must involve the applicant telling the story of who they are, not only about academic qualifications, as this allows the university to determine whether that applicant is committed enough. He urged leaders of universities to think of creative ways of being inclusive and to look for examples or strategies to adopt.
IDB Invest, the private sector institution of the IDB Group, has disbursed financing of up to US$15 million to Unicomer Trinidad, part of the Unicomer Group. This is a medium-term, local currency loan. The funds are intended to finance the client portfolio of Unicomer Trinidad, with a particular focus on reaching low-income citizens.
The loan will allow IDB Invest to support Unicomer Trinidad in strengthening its offer of access to durable goods and financial services, through access to credit, for clients of underserved populations in the country.
The participation of IDB Invest also promotes the increase of loans to microentrepreneurs and women.
The disbursement of this transaction coincided with a recent visit to T&T by IDB Invest CEO James P. Scriven. During Scriven’s visit, meetings were held with leaders of the public and private sectors of T&T, including Minister of Planning and Development Camille Robinson-Regis, as well as representatives of the T&T Chamber and the Trinidad Hotels, Restaurants & Tourism Association.
Robinson-Regis welcomed IDB Invest’s new lending initiative by stating: “IDB Invest’s presence in Trinidad and Tobago signals the confidence of the IDB and its member states in the T&T economy and that this new lending framework supports Government’s development thrust in the financial, non-energy and infrastructure sectors as well as small and medium enterprises lending.”
Scriven gave his commitment to work closely with T&T and other countries in the Caribbean as part of the IDB Invest strategy.
“IDB Invest is investing our time and energy to finance more sectors, offer more financial products and get closer to our clients in-country. My recent trip to Port- of-Spain highlighted the growth and development potential that emerges when IDB Invest and local business collaborate.”
Overall market activity resulted from trading in 14 securities of which three advanced, four declined and seven traded firm.
Trading activity on the First Tier Market registered a volume of 224,815 shares crossing the floor of the Exchange valued at $7,893,312.94.
Sagicor Financial Corporation Limited was the volume leader with 103,458 shares changing hands for a value of $806,053.58, followed by Scotiabank T&T Limited with a volume of 100,682 shares being traded for $6,554,398.20.
T&T NGL Limited contributed 8,240 shares with a value of $245,140, while Massy Holdings Limited added 3,000 shares valued at 140,980.
JMMB Group Limited registered the day’s largest gain, increasing $0.10 to end the day at $1.85.
Conversely, Clico Investment Fund registered the day’s largest decline, falling $0.02 to close at $20.51. Itwas the only active security on the Mutual Fund Market, posting a volume of 30,750 shares valued at $630,530.
In Friday’s trading session the following reflect the movement of the TTSE Indices:
• The Composite Index advanced by 1.70 points (0.14 per cent) to close at 1,221.82.
• The All T&T Index advanced by 0.11 points (0.01 per cent) to close at 1,719.37.
• The Cross Listed Index advanced by 0.46 points (0.48 per cenr) to close at 97.25.
The T&T Chamber is maintaining a cautious stance on the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) projection that T&T’s economy is entering a phase of slow economic recovery.
Commenting on the concluding statements from the IMF’s recent Article IV Mission to this country, the Chamber said feedback from the business community shows that there has not yet been any material improvement in consumer demand. It also cited the IMF’s observation of key risks that “may continue to weaken market confidence, not the least of which is energy price volatility.”
The Chamber said in a statement: “July 11, 2018, saw one of the steepest one-day oil price declines in a year; while this may not be sustained, it highlights the risks we face as an energy dependent economy.
“It also emphasises the need to insulate our economy from future shocks, and to intensify efforts to address the barriers to non-energy growth.”
The group also highlighted its call for a national transformation strategy in which the private sector can play a part.
According to the Chamber, the IMF identified risks T&T must address to continue the drive to “transform the economy, improve competitiveness and reduce reliance on the energy sector.”
It said: “We therefore concur with the call for the speedy approval of the Revenue Authority legislation, as well as the acceleration of VAT refund payments. We are also keen to see the updated figures and charts on the status of VAT refunds, as was done in the last report, and reiterate the need for more active management of the foreign exchange market to ensure equilibrium between supply and demand.
“As far as the proposed increase in utility tariff rates goes, while the T&T Chamber recognises the importance of reducing subsidies, it is equally important to improve efficiency and ensure that services provided by the government are competitive. Urgent action is needed to reduce labour rigidities in the public sector and to improve the efficient delivery of public services, which ultimately requires meaningful public sector reform.”
Noting that the IMF had welcomed National Insurance Service (NIS) reform initiatives such as further contribution rate increases, the Chamber said these cannot be the only solutions.
“Unfortunately, decisions made in previous administrations have increased the pension subsidy paid, which has further exacerbated the problem. The increased cost to both employees and employers will further contribute to making Trinidad and Tobago more uncompetitive in the global landscape.
“Corrective actions must be taken: Barbados, for instance, as at January 1, 2018, increased its retirement age to 67,” the Chamber said.
The business group said it agreed with the IMF’s observations and recommendations for structural reform to support sustainable growth.
“We also back any balanced approach to crime prevention and control. Finally, we maintain that large budget deficits cannot be maintained, and we endorse the recommendation to adopt a clearly communicated Medium Term Fiscal Policy Framework (MTFF),” the Chamber said.
Overall market activity resulted from trading in 11 securities of which two advanced, one declined and eight traded firm.
Trading activity on the First Tier Market registered a volume of 213,347 shares crossing the floor of the Exchange valued at $2,976,938.90.
NCB Financial Group Limited was the volume leader with 110,000 shares changing hands for a value of $588,506, followed by Massy Holdings Limited with a volume of 24,475 shares being traded for $1,150,325.
Unilever Caribbean Limited contributed 20,000 shares with a value of $535,000, while National Enterprises Limited added 20,000 shares valued at $191,000.
T&T NGL Limited registered the day’s largest gain, increasing $0.04 to end the day at $29.75. Conversely, Guardian Holdings Limited suffered the day’s sole decline, falling $0.10 to end the day at $16.50.
Clico Investment Fund was the only active security on the Mutual Fund Market, posting a volume of 1,237 shares valued at $25,395.61.
It remained at $20.53.
In yesterday’s trading session the following reflect the movement of the TTSE Indices:
• The Composite Index declined by 0.17 points (0.01 per cent) to close at 1,220.12.
• The All T&T Index declined by 0.34 points (0.02 per cent) to close at 1,719.26.
• The Cross Listed Index remained at 96.79.
There is particular interest in the 20 year bond offered through the National Investment Fund Holding Company Limited (NIFHCL). The tax-free bonds, which are priced from $1000 and will be available until August 8, were launched yesterday.
Finance Minister Colm Imbert, who spoke about the bonds in an interview on CNC3’s The Morning Brew, suggested that all citizens get involved and described the bonds as a great investment.
He said extensive market research was conducted which showed unusual demand for the 20 year bonds, especially since insurance companies plan for the long term. The 20 year bonds would be perfect for insurance companies, Imbert said.
“In order to make sure this exercise is a success, what we have done over the last week or so is meet with potential large investors. I’ve met with my team and the expert advisors with the insurance companies, banks, pensions funds, credit union league and some energy companies, just to get a sense where they are going with this.
“I was quite surprised to learn of the deep interest in the 20 year bond,” Imbert said.
Under the new Insurance Act, the 20 year bond can be included in particular insurance companies and their portfolios.
“We got approval from the Central Bank on Monday that these bonds will qualify for the statutory fund of insurance companies,” the minister said, adding that approval was also given by the T&T Securities and Exchange Commission (TTSEC).
On why bonds were chosen, Imbert explained that Government and its consultancy services reviewed the technical underpinnings of issuance of units or shares by a fund or by a company and their capacity to raise the appropriate amount of funds. He said the bonds are backed by assets which are primarily listed companies and the interest rates are one per cent above Government borrowing rates.
The fixed income asset-backed corporate bond “will be a unique instrument being marketed on Trinidad and Tobago’s capital market,” he said.
Imbert said the interest on the bonds will be tax free for the purpose of corporation tax.
“In the first place, individuals don’t pay tax on interest on bonds. This is for two reasons—we are giving back and also to make the issue attractive. We had quite a battle over the assets of Clico,” he said.
The bonds, which can be purchased for $1,000 or in multiples of $1,000, are tradeable on the T&T Stock Exchange. They will be offered in three tranches with high interest—five years (4.5 per cent), 12 years (5.7 per cent) and 20 years (6.6 per cent )
They are supported by some of the strongest companies, with a collective market value of approximately $7.9 billion, including shares of Republic Financial Holdings Limited, One Caribbean Media Limited, West Indian Tobacco Company Limited, Angostura Holdings Limited, and Trinidad Generation Unlimited.
NIFHCL was formed recently as a vehicle to monetise assets transferred to Government from CL Financial (CLF) and its subsidiaries. This is in order for Government to recover funds owed from its $23 billion bailout of Clico after the insurance giant’s 2009 collapse.
The Government expects to raise $4 billion through NIFHCL’s portfolio which is worth $8 billion and is targeting big companies as well as individuals for the bonds.
The Point Lisas Industrial Port Development Corporation Limited (Plipdeco) has maintained its ratings of CariA+ on the regional scale and ttA+ on the national scale, in its latest ratings by Caribbean Information and Credit Rating Services Limited (CariCRIS)
The regional ratings agency said this includes a “single notch up for the likelihood of support, if needed, from its majority shareholder, the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.”
CariCRIS said in a release: “The ratings indicate that the level of creditworthiness of this obliger, adjudged in relation to other obligers in the Caribbean is good.
The agency also maintained a negative outlook on the ratings based on expectation that prevailing economic and foreign exchange challenges in T&T will continue to persist and could negatively impact trade activity and by extension containerised cargo traffic over the next 12 - 15 months.
It cited Plipdeco’s strong market position in industrial real estate management and port operations in T&T and the company’s reliable earnings stream attributed to stable and high credit quality tenant base at the industrial estate.
“The ratings further reflect the company’s good financial performance supported by good capitalization and healthy debt protection metrics despite falling revenue for a second consecutive year. These rating strengths are tempered by the company’s high exposure to the fortunes of the contracting oil and gas industry at the industrial estate,” CariCRIS said.
Anand Low Price Group of Companies is committed to improving their services, said Chelsea Ramnarine Singh, daughter of owner Anand Ramnarine Singh, during a simple ceremony on Wednesday to mark the opening of the latest branch in the supermarket chain at Tropical Plaza, Pointe-a-Pierre.
She said the goal is not to compete with other supermarkets but to provide affordable prices and excellent service to customers.
“While conducting market research to determine whether or not it was feasible to open a Low Price branch in Marabella, we recognized that persons were getting the items they needed, but not the shopping experience they wanted,” Singh said.
The objective, she added, is to make the customer’s experience enjoyable and easier.
“When you go to a supermarket, you shouldn’t have to spend a long period of time searching for a park. When you go to a supermarket, you shouldn’t be disgusted by the unclean appearance of the store. When you go to a supermarket, you shouldn’t have to pay unfair prices that leaves your wallet empty when your trolley barely has anything in it. When you go to a supermarket, you shouldn’t be deprived of a shopping bag,” she said.
Promising to consistently upgrade their offerings, Singh said there will be even more improvements with the opening of their sixth branch.
She paid tribute to her father, the CEO and founder of the supermarket chain, for his hard work and devotion. Her brother, Nicholas Ramnarine Singh, thanked their team, suppliers, financiers and loyal customers for support over the years.