Jamaica News: Jamaicans will have the opportunity to purchase shares in Wigton Windfarm Limited, when the initial public offering (IPO) opens on April 17.
Eleven billion shares at 0.50 cents each are being offered under the IPO, and will run until May 1. Of this amount, 2.2 billion shares will be reserved for public-sector workers. The Government is seeking to raise $5.5 billion from the sale.
The offer forms part of the Government’s thrust to enable ordinary Jamaicans to own shares in State entities that are being privatised.
Speaking at the launch of the IPO at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel on Tuesday (April 9), Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, said the undertaking is intended to facilitate wealth creation for Jamaicans at all levels.
“This is the best way of giving back to people of the country. This is the best way of achieving the goal of socialisation of wealth,” he argued.
The Prime Minister said he has “great hopes” for Wigton in private ownership, in light of renewable energy being the “future of investments”.
“Wigton, by virtue of being an already efficient operator, and by virtue of refining their skills in the private sector, would be very well placed competitively to capture some of that newly determined space for procurement, which means that the longevity of the company would look very well,” he said.
Mr. Holness noted that solar and wind technologies are improving and the prices are going down, adding that once the challenge of storage is resolved, then more renewables will be integrated.
“I think Wigton is very well placed to be a commercial success going forward and a good asset to buy,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Holness said the Government is in the process of divesting its shares in the Jamaica Public Service Company, adding that the Jamaica Mortgage Bank has also been identified for divestment.
“So, we are going through the list of business operations that the Government owns and as soon as it is possible, we will be packaging them and placing them in the hands of Jamaican citizens,” he said.
The Prime Minister further pointed out that “these are assets that Jamaicans should own,” noting that the intention of the Government, as far as is possible, is to place business operations in the hands of shareholders.
In the meantime, Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, said the offering is significant as it is the first IPO of a Government-owned company in almost 30 years.
“It is also significant because the Government is divesting, via the stock exchange, 100 per cent on Wigton. There is no precedent for that. Previous IPOs 30 years ago would have divested parts of Government-owned companies.
Mr. Clarke added that the IPO is being structured to ensure the widest possible distribution of the opportunity to Jamaicans.
For her part, Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Hon. Fayval Williams, said she is also optimistic about the continued success of Wigton through the IPO.
“Wigton has had a history of high performance in our energy sector for over a decade. In just the same way that Wigton was created to diversify Jamaica’s energy mix, I believe that this IPO will diversify your investment going forward and become the wind beneath your investment wings,” she said.
A subsidiary of the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ), Wigton Windfarm is the largest wind energy facility in the English-speaking Caribbean and was built by the Government to help diversify Jamaica’s energy mix.
The company began operating in 2004 with the commissioning of a 20.7 megawatt-generating plant, Wigton I.
This was followed by the development of Wigton II in 2010, which generates 18 megawatts of energy. Wigton III, the 24-megawatt expansion of the facility, was officially commissioned into service in June 2016 by Prime Minister Holness.
Once listed on the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE), Wigton will be the second energy-related company on the market.
Source: JIS News