Mark Myers Chairman Barita Investments Limited (“Barita” or “the Group”) provide investors with an insight into their very successful investment strategy, as outlined in their recently released unaudited financial statements for the nine months of the financial year 2022.
Barita’s proprietary investment strategy has been characterized during the post-acquisition period by a focus on the pursuit of differential value through complementing our traditional business lines and exposures with a funding base containing lower than typical leverage and by making strategic allocations to alternative investments.
Between March 2019 and September 2021, Barita raised $34.5 billion in permanent equity capital between two (2) Rights Issues ($9.2 billion), two (2) Additional Public Offers (“APOs”) ($24.3 billion) and a Non-Redeemable Non-Cumulative Preference Shares ($1 billion). Our leverage of less than half the industry average and capital to risk weighted assets ratio of more than 4 times minimum regulatory requirments has served as a significant defensive feature in the face of several periods of market stress which have characterised the post-pandemic period. This has also positioned Barita well to take advantage of price dislocations which have also been a recurrent feature of the post pandemic period.
Allocations to Alternative Investments:
The period that has followed the economic and financial market downturn brought on by the 2008/2009 financial crisis has been characterized by a largely uninterrupted cycle of rising prices in most traditional risk assets driven substantially by the effects of unprecedented global monetary policy.
This situation has informed the pursuit of an investment strategy which attempts to complement the typical higher beta exposures provided by traditional assets with an allocation to specific segments of the alternative investment universe. We have defined the focus areas of our alternative investment strategy as spanning real estate, private credit, private equity and infrastructure.
Over the last 18 months, we have taken several foundational steps towards establishing a suite of portfolios/vehicles via which both Barita and the investing public can gain varying forms of exposure to the targeted asset classes in an efficient manner. This has involved the sourcing, evaluation, and selection of seed portfolio assets as well as the structuring of investment vehicles and the attendant seed funding thereto. The most advanced strategies across the four lanes in order of capital deployed are real estate, private credit and private equity with our infrastructure-based strategy expected to make more progress in FY2023.
Real Estate Strategy
During 03 FY 2022 we achieved a material milestone in relation to our real estate focused strategy as we offered access to the portfolio of prime real estate that we have been accumulating via the managed special purpose vehicle, MJR Real Estate Holdings Limited (“MJR”), to our clients via the Barita Real Estate Portfolio Unit Trust Fund.
MJR presently has over 1,900 acres of real estate in its pipeline for development. The entity’s strategy targets the acquisition of undervalued real property with clear opportunities for material value-add through infrastructure development, repurposing and/or construction, and the stimulation of foreign direct investments into Jamaica and the region.
The real estate in MJR’s portfolio has a range of applications to include residential, commercial, light industrial and hotel/residential projects. MJR is presently in the acquisition phase of its life cycle following which the company will be moving into the development phase starting in FY 2023. The development phase will involve Barita as investment manager engaging technical and financial partners to develop its properties.
An example of Barita’s approach through MJR is the intended development of the 250+ acre property, Reggae Beach. Located in Prospect St. Mary, Reggae Beach is intended to be transformed into a multifaceted development with high end resort, luxury villa and hospitality applications to the seaside twinned with residential and commercial services to include a town centre. It is intended for the development of this property to add further vitality to the community through the significant investment it will attract from the hospitality sector coupled with the attendant commercial and residential needs the hospitality services will necessitate. The development of the property is anticipated to transform the community’s environs and create and sustain thousands of jobs in various sectors for ordinary Jamaicans which holds true to our ethos as a Company.
There are several tailwinds to the planned development in our view, to include the continued return of international travel, the expansion of flights to the Ian Fleming International Airport, which is in close proximity to the property, and the dynamism of the topography of the land which augurs well for a landmark development.
Private Credit & Private Equity Strategies
Year-to-date in FY 2022 Barita has originated/sourced and deployed approximately $5 billion into private credit investments which have provided the company with equity type returns and have served as a source of resilience in our overall credit portfolio in the face of rising interest rates. Barita has identified several avenues through which the value embedded in these exposures can be realized and, in a similar way to our real estate strategy, we intend to make some elements of these strategies available to the investing public over time.
As we outlined in our FY 2021 annual report, we see our mandate as being an effective conduit through which investment opportunities are efficiently sourced and structured to serve as a key enabler to economic development even as we build capacity to satisfy the investment objectives of our customers. This mandate has informed the company’s decision to construct a funding profile which is overweight in equity capital relative to the typical broker-dealer operating in Jamaica. Higher capital ratios complemented by lower leverage afford Barita greater capability to execute on its investment strategy including the prudent management of idiosyncratic risks related to alternative investments.
Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) Opens Renovated Agro-Processing Incubator
The Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) has opened a renovated agro-processing incubator as it looks to boost production and export among micro and small agro-processors.
The project was funded by the European Union (EU), managed by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and implemented by the JBDC.
Speaking during Monday’s (November 13) grand opening at the JBDC’s Incubator Resource Centre in Kingston, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator the Hon. Aubyn Hill, said it is a significant milestone in Jamaica’s path towards entrepreneurial excellence.
“The initiative is a vital step in our journey at the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, aligning perfectly with our strategic goal to develop and strengthen industry value chains for export,” he said.
The Minister shared that micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) contribute significantly to Jamaica’s gross domestic product, approximately 44 per cent, noting that integrating them into a robust export value chain is crucial to boosting their growth potential and enhancing the country’s economic prosperity and global market presence.
JBDC Incubator and Resource Centre Manager for Technical Services, Colin Porter, detailed that six critical pieces of equipment were acquired for filling, packaging and production of a variety of products, including beverages, sauces, condiments, dry mixes, purées and pastries.
“We moved from approximately 600 sq. ft. to a total of 1,000 sq. ft. because we were constrained just by the physical limitations of the space itself. However, this expansion will now allow us to more efficiently allow our clients to carry out product development activities as well as production activities,” he said.
Mr. Porter shared that the incubator is staffed with an agro-industry process supervisor, food technologist, food development specialist and incubator assistant, who work with clients to transform their ideas or samples into world-class products.
He said the JBDC is working towards achieving Food Safety System Certification (FSSC) 22000 for the incubator, “which will mean that we will be truly ready to export throughout the world””.
Meanwhile, Advisor to the CDB Vice-President of Operations, Dr. Darran Newman, pointed out that agriculture plays a critical role in the fabric of Caribbean societies.
“It serves, not only as a source of sustenance but also a cornerstone of our economy, providing income for millions. This agro-processing incubator is definitely a symbol of our commitment to nurturing and cultivating a culture of entrepreneurship and excellence within this agro-processing domain,” Dr. Newman said.
She further noted that through collaboration, mentorship and access to state-of-the-art facilities, Jamaica’s pool of agricultural entrepreneurs is poised to grow.
“This is a testament to our unwavering belief in the potential of agriculture to be a driving force for progress and prosperity,” Dr. Newman stated.
The JBDC is an agency of the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, mandated to provide business development services to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.
Trade and Investment Most Sustainable Avenue for Growth…….. Prime Minister Andrew Holness
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says Jamaica and the wider region see trade and investment as the most sustainable avenue for the region’s growth and development.
Speaking on November 16 in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where the inaugural Saudi Arabia-CARICOM Summit is being held, Mr. Holness said that investment is a strategic way of increasing wealth without accumulating significant debt.
He noted that the region has put strong measures in place to safeguard investments.
“If we are to focus on investment as the strategic direction for development, our investors can rest assured that the entire region has made commitments for strengthening and deepening our institutional frameworks to protect investments,” he noted.
“We have very strong institutions, certainly, in terms of our legal and justice systems, to support and protect contracts. We have very strong regulations for our financial sector and our financial markets. So, in terms of an investment framework, the region, I think, is significantly attractive in that way,” he added.
Mr. Holness noted that the region welcomes the strengthening and deepening of the relationship with Saudi Arabia.
“As we go forward… investment and trade should be the key strategic direction. The region has great potential for the exploitation of renewable energy… and, therefore, Jamaica, in particular, would be willing to explore investments in this regard,” he said.
The Prime Minister noted that the region is a net supplier of talent to markets in proximity in North America and Europe, noting that “we can manage significant investments in terms of human resources”.
“The Caribbean, though we are Small Island Developing States (SIDS) we have tremendous opportunities for significant investments. Where we are located, we have great logistics opportunities, shipping… and we would be very interested in hearing the investment potentials that exist for that,” Mr. Holness said.
By: CHRIS PATTERSON JIS
Jamaica Records Estimated 2.9 Per Cent Six-Month Calendar Year Growth
Jamaica is estimated to have recorded gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 2.9 per cent for the first six months of 2023, between January and June.
Director General, Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Dr. Wayne Henry, made the disclosure during the agency’s digital press conference on Thursday (August 17).
He informed that the Services Industry grew by 3.5 per cent, while the Goods Producing Industry expanded by one per cent.
“The industries which were estimated to have recorded the largest increases during the first half of the year were Mining and Quarrying, up 137.7 per cent; Hotels and Restaurants, up 18.5 per cent; Other Services, up 11.4 per cent; and Transport, Storage and Communication, up 6.1 per cent,” Dr. Henry said.
He noted that the short-term prospects for the overall economy are positive, based on expected improved performances in the Mining and Quarrying, Hotels and Restaurants, Other Services, and Transport and Storage industries.
Dr. Henry informed that there is also anticipated strengthening in business confidence.
This, he explained, is based on firms’ perception that future business conditions will improve, adding that “this is expected to drive domestic demand”.
The short-term prospects are also based on continued recovery of the global economy, which augurs well for external demand.
This is supported by recent projections from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) indicating a strengthening in global growth for 2023.
Dr. Henry noted, however, that this positive outlook could be significantly impacted by adverse weather conditions, including drought and heavy rainfall; plant downtime, due to relatively aged equipment in major industries, particularly in the manufacturing industry; and slower than expected growth in the economies of Jamaica’s main trading partners.
“Against this background, for July-September 2023, growth in output is anticipated to fall within the range of one per cent to two per cent. This projection is based on expected growth in most industries led by the Services sector, in particular Mining and Quarrying; Hotels and Restaurants; Other Services; and Transport, Storage and Communication,” Dr. Henry said.
He stated that early indicators are positive, as reflected in Hotels and Restaurants – with an increase in preliminary airport arrivals, up 14.7 per cent to 273,376 persons for July 2023, and Electricity and Water Supply – reflecting increased consumption.
“Electricity consumption for the month of July 2023 increased by 10.6 per cent,” Dr. Henry informed.
He noted that the Mining and Quarrying subsector is reflecting increased capacity utilisation relative to the corresponding quarter of 2022, when the JAMALCO refinery operated at reduced capacity as production gradually resumed following the 10-month closure.
For July 2023, alumina production increased by 321.2 per cent, while crude bauxite production declined by 18 per cent.
Meanwhile, for fiscal year 2023/24, projections are that Jamaica will record higher levels of output relative to the performance in 2022/23.
“Consequently, the PIOJ’s projection is for growth in output within the range of one per cent to two per cent for the fiscal year. This projection is based on the expectation that the recovery in industries such as Mining and Quarrying, and the growth momentum for industries such as Hotels and Restaurants and Other Services, will continue,” Dr. Henry said.
Additionally, the current drag on growth from industries such as Agriculture and Construction is expected to dissipate, as these sectors return to positive performances by the end of the fiscal year.
Jamaica To Reveal New Outsourcing Brand At Upcoming Global Digital Services Conference
Jamaica is set to launch its re-imagined outsourcing proposition to hundreds of entrepreneurs, business leaders and executives from multinational corporations, global startups and trade promotion organisations when the country hosts the upcoming Outsource to Latin America and the Caribbean Global Digital Services Summit (O2LAC) from June 14 -15 in Montego Bay.
Jamaica will be the first English-speaking nation from the Latin America and Caribbean bloc to host this Summit, which will be its ninth edition. O2LAC was created by the Inter-American Development Bank’s Integration and Trade Sector with the goal of unleashing the region’s full potential in the global digital services sector. Business leaders will learn about breakthroughs in emerging technologies such as AI. They will discover advanced capabilities in strategic Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO), and Information Technology Outsourcing (ITO), as well as identify new business opportunities through B2B and B2G matchmaking events.
As Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator the Honourable, Aubyn Hill, explains that “O2LAC presents a prime opportunity for the Government of Jamaica and its partners to introduce Jamaica’s re-energized global digital services sector offerings to the largest gathering of prospective services buyers and suppliers in the region. We have been working hard to enhance and elevate Jamaica’s product offerings and the launch of our new Global Campaign at O2LAC will communicate our unique value proposition, and cement our brand in the minds of executives, entrepreneurs and experts as the superior option for global businesses seeking to upscale their outsourcing goals and growth results”.
Jamaica is already a mature Outsourcing location and home to companies such as Conduent, Itel, Sutherland Global, Sagility, Startek and IBEX. Most of these companies provide services to some of the top Fortune 50 businesses. With over 85 companies currently in operation and annual revenue close to US$1billion, while employing over 60,000 people, the country has the largest Outsourcing Sector in the English-speaking Caribbean. Special Economic Zone incentives allow for duty concessions and reduced corporate income taxes, and continuous investments in telecoms and electricity infrastructure ensure stable power and broadband capabilities that make Jamaica a destination of choice.
The new National Investment Policy includes a raft of economic policies, initiatives and support measures designed to make it easier to establish businesses in the country. The continual efforts of Jamaica’s Global Digital Services Sector (GDSS) Project to enhance training, certification and create new job opportunities within the sector, will re- energize the Jamaican market to welcome a new cadre of Fortune 1,000 companies.
President of Jamaica Promotion Corporation (JAMPRO), Shullette Cox, says, “What we will be discussing at O2LAC will be vital to ensuring that business leaders understand how they can harness the full potential of Jamaica’s expanding global digital services sector. We will specifically demonstrate how Jamaica’s offerings can be tailored to solve any concerns in the global digital services sector. For instance, in the area of skills training, we are continuously enhancing our capabilities. Through the GDSS Project we are creating training, apprenticeship, internship, certification and train-the-trainer programmes. When these are coupled with the GDSS Talent Hub and Career Pathway Framework, we will be able to connect consistently thousands of talented Jamaicans with the specialised training which will enable them to work in the sector. The campaign launch will enable far greater understanding of how best to access and synergise the
very best outsourcing services that Jamaica has to offer.”
O2LAC is expected to attract up to 600 local, regional and international attendees. Event speakers include: Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator the Honourable, Aubyn Hill; Manager, Integration and Trade Sector, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Fabrizio Opertti; Deputy Director of AI for Good Research Lab, Rahul Dodhia; Head of Global Services for Carrier, Steve Rudderham; President of the Global Services Association of Jamaica, Anand Biradar; and several Latin American business leaders along with other representatives from the IDB.
Fabrizio Opertti, IDB Manager of the Integration and Trade Sector stated, “We believe in Latin America and the Caribbean’s potential as a global service delivery platform, offering unrivaled quality, early technology adoption, and contributions from SMEs, entrepreneurs, and startups. Outsource2LAC is instrumental in consolidating our regions position as major player in global digital services exports”;. The Global Digital Services Sector is projected to grow to US$1 Trillion by 2025 with business outsourcing in Latin America and the Caribbean accounting for over $10 billion in regional revenues and investment. As the country named the Best Caribbean Nation for Doing Business by Forbes (2019), Jamaica is aiming to build on its impressive performance in the industry to catapult its way to being the premier Outsourcing destination in Latin America and the Caribbean.
For more information about O2LAC and to review the agenda, please visit
Jamaican MSMEs Benefit from $13 Billion in Gov’t Funding Support
A total of $13 billion in affordable loans and credit guarantees were provided for Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) by the Government during fiscal year 2022/23.
This was disclosed by Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator the Hon. Aubyn Hill, during the University of Technology (UTech) Jamaica’s 41st annual marketing seminar at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston, on Wednesday (April 5).
The provision formed part of Government’s efforts to improve MSMEs’ access to financing.
Senator Hill said the Ministry, through the National Export-Import (EXIM) Bank, provided special soft loans at an interest rate of 4.75 per cent for eligible MSMEs.
He indicated that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) were able to access up to $25 million, and micro businesses a maximum of $5 million, for up to five years.
“Short and medium-term loans have been disbursed to MSMEs in a range of sectors. That $13 billion involves guarantees, including DBJ (Development Bank of Jamaica) not just the EXIM Bank. These efforts serve to stimulate growth and develop unfunded MSMEs, particularly where there is great potential for value-added products which are poised for export,” the Minister said.
Senator Hill assured that the Ministry will continue to extend tangible support to the MSME sector.
“The Ministry is also mindful of how it needs to lead MSMEs. The rebranding exercise on which we embark is a demonstration to others that there is need for [the] assessment of strengths and weaknesses as well as opportunities and threats,” he emphasised.
Meanwhile, Senator Hill said greater focus must be placed on exports to reduce Jamaica’s trade gap.
Citing 2021 data, the Minister said Jamaica imported products and services valued at US$5.975 billion, as against exports valued at US$1.441 billion, pointing out that “the negative balance is US$4.5 billion”.
Senator Hill emphasised that more goods and services need to be exported in order to begin closing the deficit.
He challenged fledgling marketers attending the conference to develop a jingle that promotes exports and, by extension, Brand Jamaica.
“When you do that and you bring it in, I will make sure that we fold our brand around it and make sure it works,” the Minister said.
Senator Hill maintained that Jamaicans should also continue to create products and services that will make the country competitive and successful in overseas markets.
Meanwhile, he urged the marketers to consistently aim for excellence and to do so to the best of their ability.
“Anytime you are doing anything, including running a business, you must think about everything, and everything you put your hand to and your mind, must be excellence,” Senator Hill added.
Seminar Day Programme Lead, Alanis Blake, explained that the session aimed to bring together stakeholders to discuss relevant topics and issues within the global environment and its relation to marketing.
The seminar was held under the theme ‘Branding Matters: Marketing Strategies Meaningful Engagements’.
The UTech Jamaica Marketing Seminar is the longest running student-led academic conference in the Caribbean.
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