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Unicomer $8-billion bond offer a success

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Lifestyle conglomerate Unicomer, which trades as Courts, has successfully closed an $8-billion bond offer.

Operators of the furniture and appliance brands Courts, Ashley Homestore and RadioShack had sought the expertise of NCB Capital Markets in securing the bond which offered accredited investors the opportunity to earn a high of eight per cent for a period of 15 years.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Unicomer Jamaica's Managing Director Dennis Harris said he was pleased with the bond's performance, outlining that the funds will afford his company a boost in its growth strategy. Unicomer currently has market presence in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean.

“Our relationship with NCB has been long-standing since the days of Barclays Bank; we are heartened by the partnership and are confident that this funding will help us to grow and serve the Jamaican public, the way we have always done since 1959,” Harris noted.

NCB Capital Markets (NCBCM) Vice-President Investment Banking Herbert Hall noted that the bond, which closed last month and was issued in local currency, not only represents one of two historic debt transactions completed in May totalling $23 billion, but also the confidence in the businesses' ability to undertake and successfully execute large and complex deals simultaneously.

He also noted that NCBCM continues to play a pivotal role in the development and deepening of Jamaica's local capital markets, which are in a transition mode supportive of larger and longer-tenured transactions.

“A few years ago it would be difficult to get investors to invest in issues that are longer than five years. However, today we are able to get investors in tenures of 15, 20 and up to 40 years,” Hall informed.

“Given the company's track record of bringing quality issuers to market, investors are confident in transactions they arrange and as such, are willing to go longer tenures and placing more of their assets in corporate issuers such as Unicomer,” he continued.

The Unicomer group operates successfully across 24 countries in the Caribbean, Central and South America and the USA. GrupoUnicomer Co Ltd, Unicomer Jamaica's parent, has presence in the international debt market with a rating of BB — from Fitch and S&P.