Wednesday 19 February, 2020

Ones to watch in 2020

Let’s take a look at a few business leaders, who we believe are shaping up to make 2020 a year of possibilities for their companies.

Let’s take a look at a few business leaders, who we believe are shaping up to make 2020 a year of possibilities for their companies.

We recently shared a list of business leaders who we believe made an impact last year.

Now let’s take a look at a few business leaders who we believe are shaping up to make 2020 a year of possibilities for their companies.

Zachary Harding

Zachary Harding, the man appointed to steer SSL Growth Equity Limited (Barbados) and its subsidiary SSL Venture Capital Limited into growth mode, is already showing signs that he is up to the task.

Since his appointment in mid-September, Harding and his team have managed to clean up the financials of the listed SSL Ventures, enabling the company to resume the trading of shares on the Jamaica Stock Exchange. He is also on course with restructuring SSL Group into a private equity operation while maintaining the brokerage business of Stocks & Securities.

Zachary Harding

In December, SSL Growth Equity sold its warehousing asset on the port to joint-venture partner Kingston Wharves and dropped a deal previously struck by then CEO, Mark Croskery to acquire a piece of a radiology venture. There are plans underway by the businessman to offload SSL Equity’s microfinance business, Dolla Financial.

Harding is now on the hunt for fresh revenue for the loss-making SSL Ventures and also plans on refreshing the company's image through a name change.

Diana Blake-Bennett

With the weight of regulatory fees gobbling up $81 million of Salada Foods’ bottom line, General Manager Dianna Blake-Bennett is looking for new ways to improve net profit for the coffee processor.

The latest initiative by Salada is the development of a specialty product - premium roasted and ground products - for distribution in the United States. The brand, which could be unveiled this year, will comprise of 100 per cent Blue Mountain coffee.

Diana Blake-Bennett

Blake-Bennett believes the new coffee product will serve as one measure to grow Salada’s export earnings which currently contribute less than a fifth of revenue.

Salada expects to sustain inventory for consistent production of the new products through bean purchases from farmers.

Berisford Grey

Two-year-old investment company, Sygnus Capital Investments has taken on an aggressive approach to the deployment of capital in creating solid return for its shareholders.

With investment banker turned entrepreneur, Berisford Grey leading the charge, SCI doubled its US$10 million initial public offering target in 2018 and has since invested over US$18 million in a number of new investment opportunities in medium-sized firms across the region.

Berisford Grey

Distribution occupies 25 per cent of SCI’s portfolio while manufacturing and energy each account for 19 per cent.

Grey wants to strengthen its position by taking advantage of certain growth areas in the Jamaican economy and has since announced that Sygnus’ Credit Investment arm is looking to real estate and going beyond Jamaica’s boundaries to make more money for its investors.

Sygnus Credit Investments Limited is aiming to raise US$35 million from the market in March to take advantage of a series of deals lined up for financing. 

Ryan Reid

Ryan Reid hopes to raise roughly US$12.3 million ($1.6 billion) from real estate investment outfit First Rock Capital Holdings initial public offering later this month.

The capital raise is the first step in a series of plans by the company to create a diversified portfolio of real estate assets for shareholders.

Ryan Reid

First Rock already owns eight properties across Jamaica, Costa Rica and the US but will use the funds raised to acquire an additional three properties, two of which are in Jamaica.

Reid has put forward plans to create a real estate investment trust offering a 10 per cent return on equity in First Rock’s first year of listing on the Jamaica Stock Exchange.

Mark Croskery

Mark Croskery may be out as Chairman and CEO of SSL Venture Capital Jamaica Limited (SSLVC) but he’s looking to make a solid comeback with his own private equity company.

Mark Croskery

Recent reports state that the new firm, of which Croskery holds full control, was incorporated in September after he demitted office as CEO of the nascent private equity subsidiary SSL Venture Capital Jamaica.

Croskery will no doubt leverage his experience in managing SSL Ventures as well as his experience as head of Stocks and Securities Limited and its member companies, in building the new business.

Steven Marston

The past year has seen air conditioning company, CAC 2000 Limited, grappling with losses, which grew more than tenfold from inconveniences created with the construction of the new Three Miles interchange, according to the company’s Chief Executive Officer Steven Marston.

The work roads were initially projected to be completed in April 2019. Up to December, Marston voiced his concern about the impact of the works on the company’s internet, water and electricity connections.

Steven Marston

To sum it up, Marston had said, the company has effectively lost one-and-a-half years of normal business activity.

But sunny days are ahead for the air conditioning supplier. The company started its new financial year with $870 million of contracts in hand and is now in acquisition mode.

Paula Barclay

Paula Barclay has been chosen to lead Barita Investments Limited at a time when the company is experiencing significant growth.

Barclay has extensive banking and investment management experience. Her new role follows the resignation of Ian McNaughton.

Paula Barclay

The value of Barita’s shares has increased nearly tenfold since its takeover in September 2018 by private equity firm Cornerstone Investments, co-founded by Paul Simpson.

Barita subsequently raised $4 billion in its initial rights issue in January and in September went to the market for another $3.5 billion. The company earned $1.7 billion in net profit for its September 2019 year-end on revenues of $651 million, which equates to a 370 per cent jump in profit and is looking for more to growth further fortify its capital base which has already tripled over the past year and has announced that it is looking to the bond market for funds.

Kevin Richards

Kevin Richards, the CEO of real estate investment trust Kingston Properties (KPREIT) has announced plans to undertake a series of acquisitions which should double its assets to roughly US$42 million by the 2020 year-end.

KPREIT’s most recent acquisitions span eight fully tenanted warehouse units in the Rosedale Warehouse Complex located in the industrial belt of the Cayman Islands.

Kevin Richards

Richards, who has outlined plans to increase KPREIT’s capital base over the next two years, is looking a net yield of seven per cent or higher per annum on additional properties it’s looking to acquire in Cayman and Jamaica.

Richards expects to close another deal this month in the Cayman Islands.

Kimala Bennett

This past year has been one of for Kimala Bennett, the CEO of advertising agency The Limners and Bards Limited, which trades as The LAB.

The year saw the company listing on the junior arm of the Jamaica Stock Exchange after raising $189 million in capital. The company tripled earnings for shareholders days after the listing.

Kimala Bennett

For 2020, the company just might fulfil its promise to shareholders for the build-out of its service offerings with an acquisition as well as get started on its target of earning 25 per cent of its revenue outside Jamaica over the next two years.

Sean Scott

Two weeks after GraceKennedy and the Musson Group announced a partnership to enter the group health and life insurance market under the name Canopy Insurance Limited, CEO of the Canopy, Sean Scott managed to ink a deal with technology firm Advanced Integrated Systems.

The deal with Advanced Integrated Systems allows Canopy to utilise its Provider Access System (PAS) that undertakes online, real-time insurance claims adjudication.

Sean Scott

Canopy commenced formal operations in the second half of 2019, bringing competition to a market currently dominated by Sagicor Group Jamaica and Guardian Life Limited.

Now, Scott is focused on building out Canopy’s group health operation before tackling the wider life segment.

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