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© 2020, Urban Development Corporation

Port Royal Company has 50 shareholders

What becomes of their investment will be determined by efforts to secure an investor for the project.

Last week, the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) said PRDC had five shareholders who together hold 100 issued shares.

However, records to 2010 indicate that just over five million shares were issued in the company, with a majority holding blocks of shares below 50,000 each – some 44 shareholders own blocks as small as 257 shares up to 49,420 shares.

UDC is yet to explain the discrepancy.

The state agency, the third largest shareholder in PRDC with 420,827 shares, has invited proposals from investors interested in developing a new port of call for cruise lines and tourism attraction for Port Royal.

The bids are due today, December 11.

Robert Stephens, the fourth largest investor and the man who conceived the project, says the plan will take about US$492 million (J$52 billion) to execute.

Stephens said it is hoped that current private investors in PRDC will be retained as minority shareholders in any new company to be formed, or they might be invited to sell their shares, depending on what any new investor brings to the table.

Shares as compensation

Each existing share in PRDC is valued at US$1, and whether this value is retained in any sale, is a matter for negotiation, he said.

Some professionals who assisted in the design of Port Royal as a heritage tourism destination were offered shares as compensation.

In exchange for shares, cash amounting to US$1.5 million was raised in the 1990s from shareholders, which included a range of financial institutions, to finance preparatory work for the project. This was matched by US$3.5 million from various government agencies, Stephens said.

"I went around to various private companies and made a presentation. They drew a cheque," he told Wednesday Business.

Architect Marvin Goodman of Marvin Goodman & Associates who prepared the architectural plans input for the Port Royal Project in 2000 said on Monday that he purchased a small number of shares "as a mark of good faith in the project".

His firm holds 6,842 shares.

His work included the master plan designs and drawings, including renderings, of all the facilities.

"We included as a consultant, Jon Jerde International, a world- renowned architect for large developments worldwide. Our plans were also informed by the cultural consultant, Leslie Patten, who provided a cultural master plan to guide the design," Goodman said.

Veronica Royal, who holds 1,927 shares, was given the equity in exchange for work done for PRDC.

"The agreement was that all fees which were due and payable were converted to shares. At the time, I was one of the quantity surveyors on the project," said Royal.

"It was right at the time of the financial crisis, a real financial meltdown."

Peter Bangerter of Swiss Stores Limited said the project was derailed by the September 2001 attacks, after which investments had frozen.

"I have no idea what the shares might be worth now," said Bangerter of Swiss Stores' shareholdings in the company.

Port Royal Development Limited

Total issued shares: 5,048,098

Top Shareholders Shares

Accountant General – 2,200,000

Development Bank of Ja – 1,078,180

Urban Development Corp – 420,827

Pragma Consultants Ltd – 358,079

Trafalgar Development Bank – 202,925

Island Car Rentals Ltd – 73,189

Pan Caribbean Financial Services – 72,068

Sagicor Life Jamaica Litd – 71,466

Robert and Donna Stephens – 62,715

Restaurant Associates Ltd – 49, 420

Neil Johnson – 48, 517

Jamaica Trade & Invest/JamPro – 40, 430

Fraser Fontaine and Kong Ltd – 26,381

Swiss Stores Limited – 24,959

Ciboney Group Limited – 21,148

Wall Street Venture Capital Ltd – 21,148

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