Neal & Massy Holdings Limited, owner of local conglomerate Barbados Shipping & Trading, closed its Warrens Motors operation, is in the process of exiting from the tourism sector via is disposal of Almond Beach Resorts properties, and is restructuring its Dacosta Mannings retail business, including the closure of its Fontabelle, St. Michael branch.
But even amid continued economic challenges here and N&M’s own on-going challenges in this market, Jamaica Money Market Brokers, the Caribbean’s largest investment brokerage house, is advising the Trinidad company to invest in new areas of activity in Barbados, which it believed had potential.
“Opportunities exist within the alternative energy sector, which currently accounts for 25 per cent of total consumption needs. Other areas (Neal & Massy) could exploit are the information and technology and communications sectors,” JMMB recommended in a recent analysis on the regional corporate giant.
The regional brokerage firm also based its advice on what it referred to as a reported economic improvement for the island.
“The Barbados economy is expected to grow by 0.7 per cent this year. This forecast is based on the most recent IMF estimate of average growth of 1.7 per cent for Barbados’ major trading partners (that is, the US, UK and Canada), along with improvement of approximately 1.2 per cent in consumer expenditure. In addition, private capital inflows of BBD$600 million are anticipated to enhance activity in tourism and construction sectors,” the analysis noted.
“Barbados ranked 44th in the 2013 Global Competitiveness Index, on the strength of its well-functioning institutions, good infrastructure, high quality education system, high use of information and communication technologies and a fairly sophisticated business community.”
Speaking recently here at the launch of a partnership involving Dacosta Mannings and sister company Super Centre, N&M’s Chairman of Retail, Thomas Pantin, said his company intended to invest more than $70 million in Barbados over the next three years.
This, he explained, was part of an objective to help stimulate economic activity here, create jobs in the construction phase of the effort and increase employment within N&M’s operations here.
“One of the ways in which we will be meeting these objectives is by creating a single retail offer, and by integrating the businesses of Dacosta Mannings and Super Centre,” Pantin said. (SC)