News Americas, BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Fri. Oct. 25, 2019: Here are some of the top business and finance news making headlines across the Caribbean this week.
The latest edition of the World Bank Group’s Doing Business 2020 study shows there are no Caribbean countries managing to rank in the top 50 out of 190 economies globally when it comes to ease of doing business.
Puerto Rico and Jamaica were the region’s top-ranked economies, ranking 65th and 71th globally.
The others were as follows:
St. Lucia – 93rd
Trinidad and Tobago – 105
Dominica – 111
Antigua and Barbuda – 113
Dominican Republic – 115
The Bahamas – 119
Barbados – 128
St. Vincent and the Grenadines – 130
Guyana – 134
Belize – 135
St. Kitts & Nevis – 139
Grenada – 146
Suriname – 162
Haiti – 179
However, economies in the Caribbean carried out a record 19 reforms over the past year to make it easier for domestic enterprises to do business. But the region has more work to do to reach global standards, the World Bank said.
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) on Oct. 21, 2019 published a final rule further restricting the export and reexport of items to Cuba, including (1) a reduction in the de minimis level applicable to Cuba, (2) limiting the export of aircrafts to government-owned airlines, and (3) tightening the rules for certain donations to Cuba. The rule also restricts the leasing of aircraft and vessels to Cuban nationals.
The rule was issued in response to Cuba’s continuing support for the Maduro regime in Venezuela and human rights violations in Cuba. It also represents another step in implementing President Trump’s policy of restricting the Cuban government’s access to funding, as outlined in the 2017 National Security Presidential Memorandum.
Oil and gas companies throughout the world have discovered over seven billion barrels of oil equivalent for the year 2019, but of this amount, Guyana has the second most discoveries so far in the year.
That’s according to Norwegian research company Rystad Energy, which compiled a report on all the discoveries of oil around the world and came up with a list of the top 10 countries. Russia is in the lead, with over 1.5 billion barrels of oil found in its Dinkov and Nyarmeyskoye oil fields.
The Virgin Islands financial services industry continued a downward slide in the second quarter of 2019, incorporating 6,365 new companies to turn in its worst quarter since 2003, when the Financial Services Commission began issuing quarterly reports, and prompting concern that new legislation combined with overall global economic woes may be affecting one of the territory’s core industries, reported the BVI Beacon.
The overall number of active companies now stands at 396,932, which means that between March 31 and June 30, the overall number dropped by 11,906.
Banco Santander SA has agreed to sell its retail and commercial operations in Puerto Rico to FirstBank Puerto Rico for about $1.1 billion. The deal includes 27 bank branches and assets of $6.2 billion, the Spanish bank said. Santander will, however, keep operating on the island including through Santander Consumer USA. The deal is expected to close by mid-2020.
Marriott International, Inc. has agreed to acquire Elegant Hotels Group in Barbados for $199 million including debt. Elegant Hotels owns and operates seven properties totaling 588 rooms, of which six are located along the prestigious west coast of Barbados.
Post completion of the deal, Marriot will renovate Elegant Hotels portfolio and likely operate the hotels as all-inclusive resorts under one or more of Marriott’s collection brands.
Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL) this week announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the government of Saint Lucia to form a joint venture to manage the existing cruise pier and terminal facilities in Saint Lucia, and to design, construct and operate a new cruise port on the island.
As part of the MOU, Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean and the government of Saint Lucia will establish a long-term concession agreement to formalize the terms and responsibilities for the joint venture to manage and operate the current cruise pier and terminal facilities at the Port of Castries. Additionally, the joint venture will design, finance, construct and operate a new cruise port in Vieux Fort on the southern part of the island that will be able to accommodate the latest and most innovative ships in the cruise industry.
Jamaican-founded digital transformation firm Ingenuity Technologies Limited says it has entered the US market and secured its first US customers.
The parent company is now Ingenuity Technologies Inc, a Delaware registered company with an office in Miami, Florida, the Jamaica Observer reported.