Caribbean Business And Finance Report

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Many yachts are registered in the Cayman Islands but are moored to the quay near the entrance to the Venice Biennale. (By Philip Kennicott/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
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Compiled By NAN Business Editor

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Feb. 14, 2020: Here are some of the top business and finance news making headlines across the Caribbean this week.

Regional

The Cayman Islands has become the first UK overseas territory to be named and shamed by Brussels for failing to crack down on tax abuse. The Islands has been added to the EU’s blacklist of foreign tax havens, which also includes Oman, Fiji and Vanuatu.

EU27 ambassadors on Wednesday took a decision to place the Cayman Islands on a nine-strong list of overseas tax territories that do not effectively co-operate with the EU, according to diplomats, according to the Financial Times. The move comes less than a month after the UK’s exit from the EU. Officials said the Cayman Islands did not pass legislation that adequately addressed concerns about companies who claim tax advantages but do not have a sufficient economic presence on the island.

Call For Proposals

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) will launch the 2020 Call for Proposals for the Regional Public Goods Initiative in Latin America and the Caribbean today, Feb. 14, 2020.

The RPG Initiative provides technical grants to finance solutions to shared challenges through regional cooperation. Since 2004, the RPG Initiative has financed more than US$130 million for 180 projects.

All Information regarding the 2020 Call for Proposals can be accessed in the RPG Initiative website. All proposals must be submitted online before 05:00 pm (US Eastern Standard Time) on April 15th, 2020.

Sale

TUI Group is selling Hapag-Lloyd Cruises to its joint venture with Royal Caribbean Cruises in a deal worth $1.3 billion (€1.2 billion).

The headline figure is the enterprise value with a net cash consideration of around $767 million (€700 million). TUI will put the proceeds towards its previously announced digital transformation as well as to strengthen the group’s balance sheet. The purchasing company, TUI Cruises, is a 50:50 joint venture between TUI Group and Royal Caribbean, established in 2008.

Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago company Phoenix Park Gas Processors Ltd (PPGPL) has bought a US company, Trinidad media reports indicate.

PPGPL said it has acquired the natural gas liquids (NGL) marketing assets of Twin Eagle Liquids Marketing LLC, through its wholly owned US subsidiary, Phoenix Park Energy Marketing LLC.  Twin Eagle Liquids Marketing LLC is a company based in Houston, Texas, USA, and is engaged in the business of marketing, trading and transportation of natural gas liquids in Canada, USA and Mexico via rail.

Antigua

In a recent decision in H.M.B. Holdings Limited v. Antigua and Barbuda, 2020 ONCA 12, the Court of Appeal for Ontario upheld Justice Paul Perell’s decision to dismiss H.M.B. Holdings Ltd.’s application to register its British Columbia judgment in Ontario against the Caribbean nations of Antigua and Barbuda, Mondaq reported.

Specifically, the Court of Appeal held that the judge did not err in finding that Antigua was not “carrying on business” in British Columbia at the relevant time and therefore it did not have jurisdiction.

This case originated with a Judicial Committee of the Privy Council judgment that ordered Antigua to compensate HMB for the expropriation of its property. HMB then brought a common law action to enforce the Privy Council Judgment in British Columbia where the BC Supreme Court granted judgment in HMB’s action.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Boris Johnson’s Caribbean holiday over the new year was a £15,000 gift from a wealthy businessman, David Ross, NewsShopper reported. The Prime Minister and girlfriend Carrie Symonds accepted accommodation for a private holiday in St Vincent and the Grenadines. The details were recorded in Johnson’s entry in the Commons’ register of members’ interests. Ross is a Tory donor who co-founded the Carphone Warehouse chain. The private holiday lasted from December 26 to January 5, according to the entry in the register on the island of Mustique.

Guyana

Another Jamaican owned company is eyeing the Guyana market. NCB Financial Group Limited, NCBFG, says it is taking steps to enter Guyana, likely through its ­investment banking unit.

The Jamaican banking conglomerate has been eyeing a deal to finance oil development in Guyana, just as the South American country and CARICOM member has joined the ranks of oil-exporting economies, the Jamaica Observer said.

Barbados

Job cuts at insurance giant Sagicor General’s Barbados and St. Lucia appeared imminent Monday as the company announced that it will be undergoing a restructuring process, according to Barbados Today.

In a statement, president and CEO Keston Howell said the decision was taken after a strategic review of the company’s operations. He suggested the restructuring was a nod to an “ultra-competitive market” in which the firm sought to “improve customer experience and deliver superior value.” Sagicor General underwrites auto, home, travel and business insurance.

Bahamas

The Bahamas’ Small Business Development Centre (SBDC) has approved a total of $2.2 million in funding for Abaco and Grand Bahama businesses, according to Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis.

Last October, it was announced that a three-year, $10 million loan guarantee and equity financing program was being established to allow eligible Bahamian SMEs to secure up to $500,000 in financing in an effort to restore existing businesses impacted by Hurricane Dorian. The loan guarantee was also established to create new businesses.

Puerto Rico

Aloft Hotels, Marriott International’s brand for properties with an emphasis on a lively environment, on Wednesday inaugurated Aloft San Juan, the first Aloft hotel in the Caribbean.

“By mixing art, technology, and music, Aloft San Juan introduces a new social scene with a fresh approach that differentiates itself from the traditional hotel offering,” a release reads.

Aloft San Juan is part of the expansion of PRISA Group with Caribe Hospitality and managed by Marriott International. With 177 rooms, the property, located in the island capital’s Convention Center District, features a loft-inspired design and is near the Isla Grande Airport, Miramar, Condado and Old San Juan.

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