Caribbean Business News Round-Up

The CIBC or Commerce Imperial Bank of Canada sale of its Caribbean assets is off. (Photo by Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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By NAN Business Editor

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Feb. 4, 2021: Here are the top headlines making Caribbean business news this week:


The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce has been forced to abandon the sale of a majority stake in its Caribbean business after regulators blocked the transaction over concerns about the change of ownership amid a global health crisis, the Globe and Mail reported.

In late 2019, CIBC announced a US$797-million agreement to sell a 66.7-per-cent stake in Barbados-based FirstCaribbean International Bank to GNB Financial Group Ltd., a company run by Colombian banker and real estate developer Jaime Gilinski.

But the deal became mired in regulatory delays and, despite a last-ditch effort by CIBC’s corporate development team to win over the watchdogs in December and January, the deal failed to win regulators’ approval reportedly because of uncertainty about the buyer.

On Wednesday, CIBC said in a news release that it would not go forward with the sale because it “did not receive approval from FirstCaribbean’s regulators,” but declined to specify why.


A 61-year-old British millionaire who recently moved to Barbados to start a new life drowned after being warned by locals not to go into the water because of strong currents, according to reports.

Mark Smith, a father-of-two whose net worth was over $9 million, reportedly ignored the warnings and went missing in the tropical paradise Sunday morning, The Sun reported.

Smith, who owned several construction businesses, had recently moved to the island in the eastern Caribbean from his $1.6 million home in Sheffield, South Yorks, after separating from his wife Debbie, the outlet reported.


A number of investors have signed off on a letter  demanding changes at Exxon, beginning with the Board, and a new commitment to a financially, competitively, and environmentally sustainable future for the Company, its shareholders, and all stakeholders.

“The Coalition United for a Responsible Exxon” (CURE) has over 135 members and collectively represent over US$2.2 trillion in assets. CURE raised urgent concerns about Exxon’s current direction, which it said is premised on outdated assumptions about high oil prices, demand, and margins that are incompatible with the reality of climate change and the inevitable transition to renewable energy sources. Once the most innovative leaders in the industry and a pillar of the Dow Jones (DJ), CURE said that Exxon today finds itself lagging behind other oil majors that have adapted their strategies to lead the global energy transition. Merck Family Fund and North Berkeley Wealth Management. The news comes as ExxonMobil on Tuesday reported an estimated fourth quarter (Q4) 2020 loss of $20.1 billion, or $4.70 per share assuming dilution. The company said Q4 capital and exploration expenditures were $4.8 billion, bringing full-year spending to $21.4 billion, $9.8 billion lower than the prior year. The company said oil-equivalent production in Q4 2020 was 3.7 million barrels per day, consistent with Q3 2020 while production was reduced by government mandated curtailments. Excluding entitlement effects, divestments, and government mandates, liquids production increased 5 percent, while natural gas volumes increased 2 percent.


Limetree Bay Refining in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, has successfully resumed operations and begun production and commercial sales of refined products, Limetree Bay Ventures, LLC reported Monday.

We are thrilled to commence operations and begin producing quality fuels for our customers,” commented Jeffrey Rinker, CEO of Limetree. “As we move into Limetree’s next chapter of commercial operations, I believe we are well positioned to succeed. In these difficult economic times, we are thankful to be able to support growth in the local economy and be a source of significant local employment for many years to come.”

The Limetree Bay complex comprises the refinery, which can process more than 200,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude, as well as a 34-million-barrel crude and petroleum products storage and marine terminal facility, stated Limetree Bay Ventures, a portfolio company of institutional investor EIG Global Energy Partners.


Fisterra Energy SLU has announced a partnership with Kenesjay Green Limited (KGL) to pursue a potential development of KGL’s first major hydrogen project, NewGen.

The project is expected to produce carbon neutral and green hydrogen as feedstock for the Trinidad Nitrogen Company’s (Tringen) ammonia complex, which is co-owned by Yara Trinidad and is located at the iconic Pt. Lisas Industrial Estate in Trinidad.

Plans are already underway for the NewGen project, which has the potential to be the first and largest standalone commercial hydrogen producing facility in the world.  The project design anticipates a hydrogen production capacity of 27,200 tonnes per year by 2024, which would be sold directly to Tringen.

Headquartered in Spain, Fisterra brings over 20 years of technical expertise in successfully developing, constructing, and operating over 30GW of conventional and renewable energy projects in Europe and Latin America.  Fisterra is a portfolio company of funds managed by Blackstone Energy Partners, a part of the global investment firm, Blackstone.


The French government, fearing the spread of deadlier and more contagious variants of the Covid-19 coronavirus, has closed the borders of its overseas territories indefinitely, including those in the Caribbean.

Caribbean destinations that fall into that category are St. Barts, St. Martin, Martinique and Guadeloupe. This could have devastating impact on the islands’ economies which has taken a battering already because of COVID-19.


The Commonwealth of Dominica has opened the St Nicholas University School of Veterinary Studies. The President of the university, Dr Golnaz Naderkhani, is a Canadian doctor who moved to Dominica following Hurricane Maria.  

Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Octavia Alfred said the university “presents an avenue to assist our young people who may be seeking advancement in this field to acquire a degree at home while opening up new opportunities for economic activities due to the presence of the university here.”

According to Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, Dominica’s strategy on CBI funds expenditure focuses on investing in the public sector, including education, youth prospects and skillsets.


Jamaican-born, US based dancehall and reggae singer Shaggy, has reportedly purchased a retreat property in Coral Gables, Florida for $2.15 million, reported. The new home is located on a half-acre near the ocean in the Cocoplum community. This is the same community in which Latin singer Marc Anthony is attempting to sell his Mediterranean-style mansion for $27 million. Shaggy’s new home was reportedly built in 1981 and comprises some 5,800 square feet and is designed around a courtyard that contains a fountain and a mermaid statue at its center.


A London-based food e-tailer with roots in St. Lucia and founded in lockdown has been named a Small Business of 2020 by Lloyds Bank, reports.

Bon Mangé, which sells jars of green seasoning and hot sauce, was launched last year by Rochelle Alcee-Stevens and her fiancé Mandella Leonce. Rochelle began posting photos of food they had made on Instagram, which led to friends and family encouraging them to create a dedicated page, Bon Mangé, and the couple then paired up to turn their love of cooking into a business. Bon Mangé has been named a winner in the Lloyds Bank Small Business of 2020 awards, in recognition of how creatively and quickly the pair adapted to the challenges of last year. The prize is a mentoring session with sauce supremo Levi Roots, the man behind Reggae Reggae Sauce, which will provide insight and support to help Bon Mangé navigate opportunities and grow the business in the year ahead.