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Financial News

Jul 2012 Financial News

BCW plans J$100 float

Jul 19, 2012

BCW, the financial start-up backed by two food titans will seek to raise J$500 million on the Jamaica Stock Exchange next week via a J$100 per share initial public offering.

But its prospectus, which would provide details of the unknown operation, will only become available on the day that the IPO opens for subscription, on July 24. The subscription period was not disclosed.

Specifically, investors will be invited to buy shares in an entity called BCW Lions Limited but the precise relationship between BCW Capital and Lions was not immediately clear up to press time.

Checks revealed that BCW Lions has no registration record with the Companies Office of Jamaica and calls to BCW Capital indicate that Lions is Barbados-based. The source, however, declined to go on record and referred The Gleaner to Gerry Wight, who did not respond.

The company will offer five million shares to the public but it was not immediately clear what percentage of BCW is being floated on the exchange.

BCW Capital is itself the operating entity of BCW Holdings. The company was established in December 2011 but was only due to start operating as a boutique financial house at mid-year.

The company gained immediate attention after then Financial Services Commission head Rohan Barnett's name cropped up on its company filings at the time when he was still the regulator of the sector but was scheduled to resign. The relationship, which would have put Barnett into a conflict of interest, was later clarified and his name was removed as director and shareholder. Wight's wife Juliet was subsequently named director on January 17.

BCW initially introduced itself publicly in a press release announcing that Jamaica Broilers and Wisynco Group were on board as equity backers. Their stake was never disclosed, but up to then Gerry Wight was the single shareholder of 400 ordinary shares.

BCW's planned IPO was quietly announced in a press advertisement in The Gleaner this week. Its debut price of J$100 per share is substantially higher than recent IPOs on both the junior and main market. At that price, assuming a successful debut and listing, BCW would immediately be the fourth most expensive stock behind Lascelles at J$270; Guardian Holdings at J$165; and FirstCaribbean at J$114.

Financial analysts polled by Wednesday Business were unable up to press time give a reading on whether the stock would be adequately liquid. One said, however, that the clear target is large investors.

M/VL Stockbrokers, one of the few independent brokerages, will act as lead broker to the deal. A spokesperson at M/VL declined to comment until the end of the week.

BCW Capital operates from Knutsford Boulevard in New Kingston.

Corporate consultant and former banker Aubyn Hill is BCW Holdings' chairman. Hill, who at one point was group managing director of NCB, currently runs his own microfinancing firm, Nation Growth. He also sits on the board of Jamaica Broilers.

Jamaica Gleaner
Wednesday July 18, 2012