Business in brief

Another Caledonian company in liquidation 

Another part of the Caledonian Group is entering liquidation, but this time in a voluntary move by the board of directors as Caledonian Bank faces bankruptcy proceedings and a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit accusing the bank of profiting from sham stock sales. 

Caledonian Group Services Ltd., the firm that managed the services among the Caledonian Group companies, entered voluntary liquidation in March, according to a report to creditors dated July 29.  

The first report by liquidators at Ernst & Young shows the company has about US$6.1 million in assets by book value, which they estimate will realize a little more than US$5.6 million in liquidation. 

Among the company’s creditors, liquidators note more than US$2.5 million owed in employee redundancy costs and a variety of unsecured creditors, including about US$70,000 owed to Caledonian Bank and Caledonian Trust.  

The redundancy costs include severance payments and employee contracts. The company also owes more than $7,600 to a vendor for what’s listed as a “staff social.” 

Heritage Bank acquires CIBC FirstCaribbean’s Belize operations 

Heritage Bank and CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank have announced an agreement in which Heritage Bank acquires the assets of the Belize operations of CIBC FirstCaribbean. 

The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to be finalized in the coming months. 

The CEO of CIBC FirstCaribbean’s Regional Operations, Rik Parkhill, said, “We have a strong team in Belize and these decisions are never easy. However it was necessary to sharpen our focus on the growth opportunities we have in other markets where we operate.  

“We conducted a strategic review of our business across the region and given the growth path we have identified, we have made the difficult decision to sell our Belize operations. This decision was made easier because of the credible and respected partner we have been able to identify for this transaction – Heritage Bank.” 

The transaction is not expected to have a material impact on CIBC FirstCaribbean’s Tier I and Total Capital ratios. 

CUC announces Q2 results 

Caribbean Utilities Company, Ltd. announced that its net earnings for the three months ending June 30 totaled $5.5 million, a decrease of $0.2 million when compared to net earnings of $5.7 million for the same period in 2014. 

Net earnings for the six months ended June 30 totaled $8.8 million, a decrease of $0.4 million over 2014. 

These decreases in earnings were due mainly to higher depreciation, transmission and distribution and temporary generation rental costs, partially offset by higher electricity sales revenues and other income, the company reported. 

The company’s new Power House building is on track for the hand-over of the first generating unit on May 1, 2016, and the second generating unit and steam turbine on June 1, 2016, the company said. When completed, CUC will have an additional 39.7 megawatts of diesel power, including a 2.7 MW waste heat recovery steam turbine. The project cost is estimated at US$85 million. 

Companies embracing healthy lifestyles 

More companies in the Cayman Islands are realizing the benefits of incorporating fitness regimes into the workplace, according to a newly appointed wellness coordinator. 

Kenneth Davis, wellness coordinator for BritCay Insurance, said he believes some 90 percent of companies in the region are seeking to run some type of wellness or fitness program for their staff. 

“They are finally understanding that a healthy and fit employee is a productive and focused employee that comes to work every day and lives a healthier lifestyle,” Mr. Davis said. “They also realize that wellness programs help to keep health insurance premiums from rising and user rates low.” 

BritCay’s corporate wellness program includes biometric screenings offered by Best Life, fitness classes at Crossfit 7 Mile, and access to the Virgin Pulse online wellness program. 

Since BritCay launched the program in April 2014, it has more than 1,000 members participating across nine companies, according to the company. 

Maples and Calder advises on US$1.2B ABS 

Maples and Calder advised ECAF I Ltd. on the Cayman Islands legal aspects of its US$1.21 billion asset-backed securitization of a diverse portfolio of 49 aircraft with an initial appraised value of approximately US$1.57 billion. 

The offering comprised three tranches of note and is the largest pooled-aircraft ABS transaction in almost a decade, according to a press release from Maples and Calder. 

As well as advising ECAF I, the issuer, a separate team from Maples and Calder advised Element Financial Corp. on the upstream funding structure being put in place to facilitate equity investment into the issuer. 

Maples Fiduciary in the Cayman Islands, Ireland and Luxembourg also provided fiduciary and administrative support in connection with the transaction. Element Financial Corporation acted as the structuring agent, while Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas and Citigroup acted as joint bookrunners for the offering.