Caribbean Business And Finance Report

BAHAMAS-OIL-SPILL
A damaged container spills oil at the Equinor South Riding Point terminal on Grand Bahama island on September 10, 2019. - Some 2,500 people are unaccounted for in the Bahamas following Hurricane Dorian, the Bahamian National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said September 11, 2019. (Photo credit should read LEILA MACOR/AFP/Getty Images)
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By NAN Business Editor

News Americas, BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Fri. Sept. 13, 2019: Here are the top business stories making news from the Caribbean for this week of Sept. 13, 2019:

Bahamas

A California-based company claims insured damages in the Caribbean and Bahamas from Hurricane Dorian could run up to $7 billion. Risk modelling and analytics firm RMS said its estimate includes insured losses associated with wind and storm surge damage across the Caribbean region, most notably in the Bahamas, which was the most severely impacted country. It added that the estimate reflects the costs of property damage and business interruption, with hotels and resorts making up a large portion of the overall commercial exposure in the two most heavily impacted islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco.

However, the region’s catastrophe risk insurance fund says the Bahamas will only get almost US$11 million following the passage of Hurricane Dorian.

IDB

The news comes as the Inter-American Development Bank said it will provide $100 million to help finance humanitarian and reconstruction efforts in The Bahamas, following widespread loss of life and destruction caused by Hurricane Dorian.

The funds are from a $100 million contingency loan signed in April 2019, to cover unexpected public expenses arising from emergencies caused by severe or catastrophic natural disasters. The contingency funding comes on top of an emergency donation of $200,000 provided by the IDB.

Central Bank

The Central Bank of the Bahamas says Hurricane Dorian will have a negative impact on the economy in the short-term. The bank noted that while medium-term growth prospects are still positive for The Bahamas, the unprecedented devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian to the northern islands of The Bahamas and the disruption in travel itineraries to many airports during this period, will negatively impact the economy in the short-term.

Guyana

Guyana is anticipating the announcement of another major oil find as early as next week, the country’s chief investment official said at the SPE Offshore Europe conference.

“There have been some big discoveries and, by next Friday, we will be announcing another one”, says Owen Verway, CEO of the Guyana Office for Investment, adding that he could not give more detail at this stage. “We are one of the hottest destinations for the oil and gas industry right now and that is set to continue.”

Since 2015, ExxonMobil and its partners have made 13 discoveries offshore Guyana totaling around 5.5bn.

Trinidad and Tobago

The government of Trinidad and Tobago is facing a multimillion claim from Chinese firm, China Gezhouba Group International Engineering Co Ltd (CGGC). The government could be forced to make a termination payment of up to an estimated US$43 million to CGGC for the cancellation of its contract with the Housing Development Corporation (HDC).  That is if an investigation of the award of the controversial contract determines that no bribes, inducement or commissions were paid by the Chinese contractor to any local official.

Curacao

Curacao’s state-run refining company Refineria di Korsou (RdK) said this week, it has opened exclusive negotiations with industrial commodities conglomerate Klesch Group to operate the 335,000-barrel-per-day Isla refinery.

RdK has been searching for a business to replace Venezuela’s Petroleos de Venezuela as operator of Isla. PDVSA’s contract will expire at year-end.

Cuba

The European Union this week said it is committed to helping Cuba develop its economy. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini made the comment during a three-day trip to Havana, even as the US  hikes sanctions on the island. “The EU is Cuba’s top commercial partner and investor, and we have tripled cooperation in the last two years,” Mogherini, the EU high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, told a news conference with Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez.

The news comes as Herzfeld Caribbean Basin Fund Inc (NASDAQ:CUBA) institutional sentiment decreased to 1 in 2019 Q1. The ratio is negative, as 8 funds increased or opened new stock positions, while 8 reduced and sold their positions in Herzfeld Caribbean Basin Fund Inc.

Martinique

Milan-headquartered Campari Group will soon own the Martinique-based Rhumantilles. The agreement between the two parties, along with a group of minority shareholders, was signed on September 5th. The deal is valued at €60 million (US$66m) and is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2019. Rhumantilles owns 96.5 percent of Martinique-based Bellonnie & Bourdillon Successeurs (BBS) Group, which produces “strategic premium brands” Trois Rivières and Maison La Mauny, and Duquesne rum.

St. Maarten

Liberty Latin America Ltd. (LLA) has acquired St. Maarten’s 12.5 per cent share of United Telecommunications Services (UTS). LLA acquired Curaçao’s 87.5 per cent of UTS and the acquisition of the remaining 12.5 per cent now results in LLA owning 100 per cent of UTS.

LLA is a leading telecommunications company operating in more than 20 countries across Latin America and the Caribbean under the consumer brands VTR, Flow, Liberty, Más Móvil, BTC and Cabletica, while UTS provides fixed and mobile services to Curaçao, Dutch St. Maarten, French St. Martin, Bonaire, St. Barths, St. Eustatius and Saba.

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