WIOC to be listed on Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange; private sector urged to follow suit

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The West Indies Oil Company is set to be listed on the Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange by July 7 this year
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By Orville Williams

[email protected]

The West Indies Oil Company (WIOC) is set to become what is believed to be the first Antiguan and Barbudan company listed on the Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange (ECSE) – and similar private sector entities are being urged to follow suit.

The company, which is involved in the storage and distribution of petroleum products, only recently received an injection of capital after going public when the government divested 10 percent of its 51 percent shareholding, with the expectation of raising nearly EC$18 million.

This latest move to be listed on the ECSE will now mean even more opportunities for the WIOC to raise capital, and Information Minister Melford Nicholas says it should serve as a blueprint for similar companies.

“It is indeed a welcome and important development…the development of capital markets this way is another [avenue] for effective businesses that are actually profitably run to be able to seek additional funding.

“So, we are hoping that it leads the way [as] a harbinger for more businesses that are operating within the subregion, particularly in the OECS – which is a common economic space – that they should be able to get listed and to meet the requirements for brokerage on that particular exchange,” Nicholas said.

The Cabinet spokesperson also reflected on the growth of the WIOC over the years and noted that the listing affords investors an additional avenue to benefit from their initial investment.

“The government applauds the West Indies Oil Company, [which has] come a long way from the days when it was a private enclave with a nominal 12 percent [interest] by the government, to now where the government has the plurality of the shares,” he said.

“There are a number of local Antiguan investors who are also invested in [WIOC], and now that it is going to be listed on the stock exchange as well, it gives those other investors who recently came onboard the option of trading their shares if and when they find it appropriate so to do, so this is all welcome good news.”

According to the government, the company’s listing on the ECSE is expected to happen “within 60 to 90 days, and certainly by July 7 2022”.

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