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TTSE ready to list new companies
The T&T Stock Exchange (TTSE) is confident, ready and willing to work with the Government to ensure that new companies are listed, said the exchange’s chief executive officer and general manager Wainwright Iton. “We want to partner with stakeholders to have effective implementation of these measures,” Iton told the Business Guardian on Tuesday. Iton has been aggressively pushing for more local companies to list on the TTSE.
At the October 2009 listing of BCB Holdings Ltd, Iton said: “We do have a serious question to answer about where are our Trinidad and companies. It is a lofty ambition that next year, I would like to see a listing once a month.” In the 2012 budget on Monday, Finance Minister Winston Dookeran said: “The Government will expand public offerings in its continuing effort to improve the efficiency of the state enterprise sector and enhance the domestic capital market. The first phase of the programme would involve the securing of strategic investors for a numbers of state enterprises. In parallel, further public offerings will be made on the TTSE.”
Dookeran said the Government would offer to the national community further tranches of the shareholding of the Government in:
• Point Lisas Industrial Port Development Corporation Ltd (Plipdeco), since this company is already listed on the TTSE
• T&T Mortgage Bank: a merger between T&T Mortgage Finance Company and the Home Mortgage Bank, for which an initial public offer (IPO) by the Government will be made
Dookeran said an IPO will also be made for state-owned First Citizens bank, but which offering will not affect Government ownership of the bank. It will assist the bank in widening its capital base and so facilitate its expansion programme in which the bank is currently engaged. The First Citizens Group was named Bank of the Year by World Finance magazine in 2010 and rated among the top safest banks in Latin America and the Caribbean by Global Finance.
Third tier on TTSE
Iton said new listings on the local stock exchange would not happen overnight. “With regard to the Junior Market Initiative, this will take time to excite. By the end of fiscal year 2012, we should start seeing listings.” Dookeran spoke about creating a third tier on the stock market to allow small and medium enterprises (SMEs) a chance to list on the TTSE. “We will work with the TTSE to create a third tier on the exchange to provide SMEs with access to the capital market. The TTSE would expand its scope of operations as it establishes a SME market.” Iton recalled Jamaica’s experience in encouraging SMEs to list on its stock exchange. “The recent Jamaican experience has shown what can be achieved in countries where the circumstances for investing are even tougher. Participating voting shares and other securities of eligible small and medium- sized companies may now be listed for trading purposes.”
“The Jamaican experience has been successful. For the first year, they didn’t have any listings, but by 2010, a year later, they had ten or 11, and then by 2011, there were three or four extra companies listed, so I expect a similar experience in T&T.”
Iton said the TTSE will need to educate and work with small companies to get them ready for listing.
Dookeran profiled the type of companies which would qualify for listing under the third tier system. “For the first five years, SMEs, whose capital is greater than $5 million but less than $50 million and listed on the SME market for trading purposes, would be allowed a ten per cent corporation tax rate. “The SMEs would be required to raise capital on the stock exchange through an initial public offering with a minimum of 25 shareholders holding at least 30 per cent of the company’s share capital. We expect this tax incentive regime to encourage small and medium-term enterprises to access resources from the capital market.”
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