Steven Jackson | Jamaica Gleaner
Financial services outfit, Proven Investments Limited, will spend up to US$12 million (J$1.08 billion) to acquire three regional financial entities in the short term.
It will finance the acquisitions with equity and debt to be raised in part from a bond placement planned for next month. The placement is expected to raise between J$750 million and J$1 billion.
“Currently, we are working on three additional private equity transactions representing approximately US$12 million of investment,” said Proven Chief Executive Officer Christopher Williams.
“They represent potential acquisitions in the Cayman Islands and Barbados.”
Williams said the transactions await approval by the investment management committee and board.
Proven, an investment holding company, since its 2010 start-up, has acquired the business of Guardian Asset Management Jamaica — now renamed Proven Wealth Limited; and Asset Management Company Limited, a micro-lending firm previously owned by Scotiabank acquired in January 2012.
Proven has also established its own real estate outfit, Proven REIT Limited.
“We continue to show a strong preference for private equity transactions in the financial services and real estate sectors,” Williams said.
Proven’s first-quarter profit rose 2.7 per cent in June over year-earlier levels to some US$845,870. Proven signalled that the profits were tempered by a lacklustre securities market which offered “little upward price movement” and, as such, limited Proven’s trading opportunities.
Shareholder equity rose marginally to US$33.46 million as at June 30, 2012, largely as a result of a 40 per cent increase in retained earnings.
The company also said it would pay a dividend of US$0.0018 to shareholders, for a total payout of US$531,000.
The interim dividend to be paid August 31 represents the first for the financial year and the third payment to shareholders in the last seven months, said Williams.
“This reinforces Proven’s declared commitment to be a dividend stock. Within the context of a narrow regional equity market … the directors of Proven believe listed companies should aggressively share their profits with their shareholders,” he said. “The narrowness of the market limits capital gain opportunities and as such the attractiveness of an equity investment is should be driven by the dividend returns.”
Proven’s shares are now trading at US$0.09. Its peak price in the past year was US$0.14.
Incorporated in St Lucia
Proven was incorporated in St Lucia on November, 2009 under the International Business Companies Act and commenced operations on March 1, 2010. Its primary activities are the holding of tradable securities for investment purpose and holding other investments.
In January, Peter Bunting and Mark Golding, two top partners of Proven Investments, resigned as members of the management committee and gave up their seats on the board of subsidiary Proven Wealth, following their appointment to Cabinet positions in the new government.
Lisa Gomes succeeded Bunting as chairman of Proven Wealth, while John Bell, former partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, was invited to join the board. Chris Bicknell, meantime, chairs Proven Investments’ management committee.