Eppley Caribbean Property Fund Limited is banking on more investments in Jamaica as it seeks to realign its real estate investment portfolio.
The Barbados-based regional real estate investment outfit advised shareholders recently that the management is open to investments across the entire English-speaking Caribbean but currently believes the opportunities in Jamaica looks strong at the moment. As a result, the management is concentrating on investments in Jamaica’s real estate investment space, declaring that “this is that is where emphasis is.”
The management is encouraging the owners of high quality large commercial real estate to reach out to them for a decisive buyer with the ability to move quickly. Eppley Caribbean Property Fund has diversified its portfolio from 100 per cent investment in Barbados since it was acquired by investment company, Eppley Limited, which is domiciled in Jamaica.
Disaggregating the investment portfolio
Jamaica accounts for the largest share of the investment portfolio with 49 per cent, with Barbados in a close second having a 48 per cent share and three per cent in Trinidad. In addition, the type of investment moved to 34 per cent in industrial, 29 per cent in office and 42 per cent in retail properties.
CFPV has diversified its portfolio regionally with high quality buildings in the following proportions:
- 105-107 Marcus Garvey Drive: 16 per cent
- 10-14 Broad Street: 15 per cent
- Hastings Business Centre: 13 per cent
- Angels Industrial Estate: 11 per cent
- Empire Shopping Centre: 10 per cent
- Mall Plaza: Seven per cent
- Alamac Warehouse: Five per cent
- Emerald City Mall: Five per cent
- 227 Marcus Garvey Drive: Four per cent
- Sunset Crest Mall: Three per cent
- 24 Broad Street: Three per cent
- Carlisle House: Three per cent
- 52 Valsayn Branch Road: Two per cent
- Chattel Village: Two per cent
- 155-157 Tragarete Road: Two per cent
- 693 Spanish Town Road: One per cent
Eppley Caribbean Property Fund has significant liquidity and low leverage to take advantage of new opportunities. Total investment income for the year ended September 30, 2020 surged to total BBD$4.58 million (2019: BBD$6.99 million). Consequently, Eppley Caribbean Property Fund reported net profit for the year of BBD$1.89 million versus a net profit of BBD $3.88 million booked in the previous year.
For the six months ended March 2021, total investment income increased to a total of BBD$3.26 million (2020: BBD$2.92 million). As a result, profits attributable to shareholders for the six months amounted to BBD$1.62 million compared to BBD$1.68 million booked prior corresponding period.
Justin Nam, General Manager of Eppley gave a positive performance review of Eppley for 2020 in spite of the fact over the past year the fund encountered the most challenging operating environment in a century. He detailed how Eppley Caribbean Property Fund was impacted by rent relief measures, primarily on tourism exposed Barbados properties, nevertheless, the performance remained resilient and profitable.
Nam told shareholders that dividend payments and buybacks initiatives were maintained with a very strong performance from Jamaican and industrial assets regionally, which validated the strategy to scale and diversify by geography and by asset type.
Regarding the Development Fund, the Eppley Caribbean Property Fund General Manager explained that the portfolio is a regional portfolio of development lands and high-quality residential units. The management indicated that, “the pace of asset sales has slowed due to COVID-19 but the goal remains to convert assets to cash.”
The outlook of the fund is converting assets to cash while re-evaluating Fund focus by close discount to Net Asset Value (NAV), continuing to focus on improving operating performance, evaluating repurchasing shares on the market if discount to NAV persists, building cash from proceeds of asset sales and to continue to evaluate Fund’s investment mandate.