Compiled By NAN Business Editor
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. May 22, 2020: Here are some of the top business and finance news making headlines across the Caribbean this week.
Banks have redlined the travel and tourism sector amid the coronavirus pandemic, which is impacting hotel and other construction deals in the Caribbean region, Invest Caribbean said this week.
The global investment agency of the Caribbean said deals in this sector are on ice right now as banks and major funders move away from the once lucrative sector that has taken a huge hit because of the pandemic. Sectors now of primary interest are health care, biotech, phrama, manufacturing and real estate that surrounds warehouses, plants or hospitals, ICN said.
This as Royal Caribbean said it lost $1.4 billion in the first quarter after the coronavirus forced its entire fleet to port but plans to return possibly in July 31.
And as the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) said this week it is making available almost US$67 million in emergency loans to seven Caribbean countries, in the first instance, to finance the response to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
The bank’s board of directors approved US$66.7 million for Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Suriname.
Petronas this week said its subsidiary, Petronas Suriname Exploration & Production B.V. (PSEPBV), has sold a 50 percent stake in Block 52 offshore Suriname to ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Suriname B.V.
As a result of the acquisition, PSEPBV now holds a 50 percent operated interest in the block, with Exxon holding the remaining 50 percent stake. Block 52 is located north of the coast of Paramaribo, which is Suriname’s capital city, and in the Suriname-Guyana basin where several hydrocarbon discoveries have been made. It covers an area of 1,833 square miles with water depths ranging from between 164 feet to 3,608 feet.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, one company is still investing in tourism. Joyau des Caraibes Ltd, owner of Silversands Grenada, has acquired Port Louis Maritime Village and the undeveloped lands at Mount Cinnamon resort in Grenada. According to HotelBusiness.com, the company will invest approximately $350 million to develop environmentally friendly facilities, including four five-star hotels, a spa, exclusive residential villas, food and beverage outlets, retail and an entertainment hub on Port Louis Marina.
The Cayman Islands is changing the way it regulates funds. Two new measures – the Mutual Funds Law (Revision, Amendment 2020) and the Private Funds Law and Regulations 2020 – have been implemented, according to Mondaq.
The changes are in response to pressure from the EU and Caribbean Financial Action Task Force on the Cayman Islands to improve transparency; and demand from private equity investors for fully independent asset verification, valuation and audits.
The new laws require private equity and mutual funds – those with 15 or fewer investors – to register with the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA).
St. Kitts And Nevis
A company located in the Federation of St. Kitts & Nevis, is being lauded for manufacturing components that support the production of ventilators needed in the current pandemic. API Harowe Servo, based in Sandy Point, St. Kitts, continued operations in compliance with health experts’ protocols throughout the State of Emergency, instituted since March 28, 2020 to keep manufacturing. API Harowe has been operating in St. Kitts for almost 45 years.
Antigua & Barbuda
Just a days after Caribbean mobile telecoms giant, Digicel, filed for bankruptcy, the Antigua and Barbuda government said it is prepared to acquire the shares of the financially strapped Irish-owned telecommunications company.
Chief of Staff in the Office of the Prime Minister, Lionel ‘Max’ Hurst, said he was confident that St John’s would be interested in acquiring the local shares of Digicel.
“I can assure you, I know the Honourable Gaston Browne (Prime Minister) well, he will be the first to step forward to purchase their assets so that APUA (Antigua Public Utilities Authority) can be a more successful provider of telecommunication services,” he was quoted as saying.
Caribbean US Diaspora
US-based Caribbean immigrant small business owners can still apply for the SBA Payroll Protection Program, (PPP), to help keep their businesses going. The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. You can start your application here.