Industry Minister praises First Rock IPO

Audley Shaw, the Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries

The Jamaica government has welcomed the decision of First Rock Capital Holdings Limited to seek to raise J$1.6 billion (US$12.3 million) from its Initial Public Offering (IPO), which opened on Monday, as being indicative of its confidence in the local economy.

The company began operating in March 2019 after raising about US$16 million in debt capital from institutional and accredited high net worth investors’ funds via private placement. The IPO runs until January 31.

“The more wealth we create is the less crime we will have.”

— Shaw

Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Audley Shaw, says the decision by the principals of First Rock Capital Holdings Limited and, by extension that of other interests across the society, has been and continues to be spurred, to a great extent, by the outcomes of several key macroeconomic indicators.

Shaw said this is the extent of “unprecedented” growth being recorded; increased employment and a commensurate reduction in unemployment to a record low 7.8 per cent; and significant debt reduction, down from 145 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) to 93 per cent.

Source of inspiration

An estimated 106,083,332 shares are being offered and these include 51,916,666 reserved shares, with the principals having the option to upsize the offer by an additional 53,041,666 shares, in the event of oversubscription.

Sagicor Investments will act as the arranger and lead broker, with Sygnus Capital the preferred co-arranger.

“The offer price of US$0.12 to the general public is fairly priced based on our estimated value of the company. As such investors could consider taking a stake in this company, however, at a fair value price the potential for upside is considered low,” Sagicor Investments said in its assessment.

Shaw, also praised First Rock on its involvement in real estate which he noted is one of the leading growth-inducing sectors. He described the firm’s IPO investment opportunity as a “source of inspiration”.

“With all of the problems that we have, there are far more opportunities than [challenges]. We can create wealth in Jamaica… and the more wealth we create is the less crime we will have; and the more human development that we enhance… is the less problems that we will have,” he said.