QWI Investments Limited (QWI) was officially listed on the Main Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE), on September 30, 2019.
Attending the ceremony, along with Directors of QWI, were representatives of their parent company Jamaican Teas (JTL), lead broker, NCB Capital Markets’ (NCBCM) attorneys, Hart Muirhead Fatta and the JSE.
QWI recently staged a successful Initial Public Offering (IPO), offering 600 million Ordinary Shares, which was upsized to 900 million Ordinary Shares, and oversubscribed. The Company now has a shareholder register of over 4,700 members.
Chairman of QWI, John Jackson, in his address, said stocks are the most viable path to wealth creation and that Jamaicans should be empowered with investment education, as they tend to focus on land ownership as a primary goal. He charged the authorities to move on a mandate of compulsory investment education at the school level, so that the nation can begin to prioritise wealth creation and in due course, other life goals such as real estate.
Turning to the performance of the JSE, he said that being declared the leading stock market based on index gains is commendable, but Jamaica must aim to become the best capital market with commensurate rules and regulations upheld by all regulatory entities. “We have the basis of a great capital market but regulations and policies should be clear, transparent and predictable. We cannot build a great market if rules suddenly change in the middle of the game, or players do not understand them”.
“Directors know more about their companies than outsiders, and so my suggestion is that all IPOs raising fresh capital must have at least a credible three-year profit forecast. A prospectus without a forecast and with six-month-old Financial Statements cannot be acceptable”, Jackson said.
In her address, General Manager of the JSE, Marlene Street-Forrest said that QWI is the fifth new company to list on the JSE Main Market in 2019, bringing the number of listed companies on that market to 45. Including the $1.19 billion raised by QWI, approximately $15.6 billion has been raised in 2019.
As at September 27, 2019, the market capitalization of the Main Market amounted to $1.903 trillion. The market capitalization of QWI at $1.84 billion, has increased the market capitalization of the Main Market to $1.904 trillion and the overall market capitalization increased to $2.06 trillion on September 30, 2019.
“The listing of QWI comes at a time when rating agency Standard & Poor’s has upgraded Jamaica from B to B+ and when investors are definitely interested in the markets and companies, which come with credible invitation for subscription. It is not often when both sides of the coin seem so well aligned and we wish to encourage companies to seek capital through the market. Street-Forrest said.
John Mahfood, Director of QWI and CEO of Jamaican Teas (JTL), said that QWI is structured to allow average Jamaicans to benefit from the expertise of a team of investment experts, without the stress of having to do their own research, or the cost of big administration fees. He said the experience gained by having JTL listed on the JSE’s Junior Market 10 years ago, helped to propel the company into taking on the venture of QWI.
He added that with the market evolving, the new developments should encourage younger investors to participate— “IPOs are being promoted in more innovative ways via social media to a wider audience, including younger investors. Accounts for new investors are being made available on a timelier basis and we hope the JSE will continue these improvements and also make the IPO process easier to facilitate further growth”.
Mahfood also called for improved financial literacy so that young investors can begin to appreciate the long-term benefits of expanding on small investments over time.
Herbert Hall, Vice President, Investment Banking, NCBCM, said that Jamaicans are showing growing interest in the local capital market. Given this heightened interest for investment opportunities and the increased need for guidance, QWI will provide a timely service.
“We can all agree that the company is poised to do well as their interests are very much aligned with the investors who have given them this vote of confidence. In this offer, we would have received over J$2 billion in funds, basically 100 percent more than the company would have asked us to raise”.
Hall commended the JSE, JCSD and NCB Capital Markets teams for working tirelessly to make the QWI transaction happen in record time. The analytics from NCBCM’s GoIPO tool, which powered the IPO, reported that applications were completed in under five minutes.
QWI was incorporated as an investment company in 2018 and is a member of the Jamaican Teas Group.