KINGSTON, Jamaica, Thursday April 11, 2019 – In less than a week, the Jamaica Government will open the first initial public offering (IPO) of a State-owned company in almost 30 years. And it’s hoping to raise J$5.5 billion (US$42.4 million) from the sale of all the shares in the company which is the English-speaking Caribbean’s largest wind energy facility.
Eleven billion shares in Wigton Windfarm Limited, at a price of 50 cents each, are being offered to Jamaicans under the IPO which opens on April 17 and will close on May 1. Of that amount, 2.2 billion shares will be reserved for public-sector workers.
Minister of Finance and the Public Service Dr Nigel Clarke said that in addition to being the first IPO of a Government-owned company in almost three decades, the sale is significant in another way.
“It is also significant because the Government is divesting, via the stock exchange, 100 per cent of Wigton. There is no precedent for that. Previous IPOs 30 years ago would have divested parts of Government-owned companies,” he explained, adding that the IPO is being structured to ensure the widest possible distribution of the opportunity to Jamaicans.
Prime Minister 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 socialization of wealth,” he said at the launch of the IPO on Tuesday.
Holness 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.
The Prime Minister noted that solar and wind technologies are improving and the prices are falling, adding that once the challenge of storage is resolved, 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, Holness said the Government is in the process of divesting its shares in the Jamaica Public Service Company, and 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.
“These are assets that Jamaicans should own,” the Prime Minister added, stressing that the intention of the Government is, as far as is possible, to place business operations in the hands of shareholders.
Minister of Science, Energy and Technology 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 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.