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Caribbean Business And Finance Report

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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