CARIBBEAN BUSINESS AND FINANCE REPORT

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By NAN Business Editor

News Americas, BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Fri. May 3, 2019: Here are the top business stories making news from the Caribbean for the week ending May 3, 2019.

REGIONAL

LIAT

LIAT CEO Julie Reifer-Jones insists that the Antigua-based airline is committed to connecting the region and had operated all its flights over the peak Easter season with an on-time performance of 80 per cent. Her comments came after shareholders of regional airline LIAT met on Tuesday with St. Kitts and Nevis and Dominica adding to funds being put up to save the carrier by Antigua and Barbuda.

STOCKS

Shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises, the second-largest cruise operator by revenue, were making waves this week following the release of strong first-quarter results. The stock was at $127 and change, up more than 5% on the session.

And Caribbean Utilities Company, Ltd. says it has recorded net earnings of $4.5 million for the first quarter of 2019, an increase of $1.8 million from $2.7 million for the three months ended March 31, 2018 (“Q1 2018”). The increase in net earnings is due primarily to a 4% increase in kilowatt hour (“kWh”) sales, lower transmission and distribution costs and lower finance charges.

CAYMAN ISLANDS

The Cayman Islands will have to spend millions of dollars in more law enforcement officers, government officials and training to meet the anti-money laundering requirements set forth by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF).

The jurisdiction has been forced to come up with a “comprehensive action plan” to address shortcomings and avoid being placed on a CFATF greylist after the task force released a report that highlighted flaws in Cayman’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regimes.

JAMAICA

Jamaican conglomerate, NCB Global Holdings Ltd, has been given the green light by the government of Trinidad and Tobago government to acquire control of the local company Guardian Holdings Limited, (GHL).

GHL is the parent company for an integrated financial services group known as Guardian Group, which is involved in life, health, property and casualty insurance, pensions and asset management throughout the Caribbean.

T&T Finance Minister Colm Imbert said that the license allows for NCB to acquire up to 74,230,750 shares in GHL. NCB currently holds 69,547,241 shares in GHL, representing 29.99 per cent of the total issued and outstanding shares of the company.

This comes as the IMF says for the first time since May 2001, Jamaica’s public debt is projected to fall below 100 percent of GDP to 98.7 percent of GDP in FY18/19. Unemployment is also near all-time lows according to the body while the economy is estimated to have expanded by 1.8 percent in 2018, buoyed by mining, construction and agriculture.

BAHAMAS

AM Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of A- (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating (Long-Term ICR) of “a-” of Bahamas First General Insurance Company Limited (BFG) (Nassau, Bahamas) and Cayman First Insurance Company Limited (CFI) (Cayman Islands), the property/casualty operating subsidiaries of Bahamas First Holdings Limited (Nassau, Bahamas) (BFH).

ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

The government of Antigua and Barbuda will be proceeding with plans to establish blockchain technology in the country by enacting the necessary laws in Parliament. Prime Minister Gaston Browne said this week that special attention will be given to primarily low-risk assets, digital and cryptocurrencies.

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