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For an investor, technology companies can be a scary place.
With memories of the dot.com crash still fresh in some people's minds, investors are rightfully cautious. But last week, Apple surpassed Exxon as the world's most valuable company, worth $337.2 billion now compared to the oil-giant's meager $330.8 billion.
It was truly a sign of the times, said Kevin Burrows, the Senior Vice President of CFAL.
"It's important to highlight that when you think of technology companies today, they aren't the same highly leveraged and volatile industries they were back in 2000, during the Internet bubble," he said.
"These companies are fairly mature now and have very strong balance sheets."
But if you're seeking an investment in technology, Borrows said Apple isn't the only company in the electronic universe.
On Monday, Google sent stocks of Wall Street flying when they acquired Motorola Mobility for a whopping $12.5 billion - in cash.
The acquisition sent Motorola's stock price surging more than 60 percent.
Analysts said the move was the first step by Google to build a position in the mobile world so they can distribute their products and services through phones and tablets.
If this proves accurate, the acquisition could mean huge strides for Google.
At press time, Google was trading at $533.14 per share.
"This is really the first time they are buying a manufacturing type of company," Burrows added. "Google is clearly diversifying. I think this purchase made people realize that Google is not content to let its growth rate slowly decline like that of Microsoft. That sometimes happens when you have a monopolistic situation. It's good to see that Google, as big as they are, can still focus on earnings and revenue growth."
In fact, Burrows said he wouldn't be surprised if eventually Google surpasses Apple as the world's most valuable company.
In some respects, technology companies are a good buy when it comes to investment, he said. They can be less risky than your industrial company that may be dependent on economic growth, or the lack thereof.
However, can these companies be too much of a good thing?
"I think that something investors are trying to get their heads around is how do you evaluate a company like Google or Facebook. At times, these juggernauts appear to be invincible."
He points out that no business model is iron clad.
However, in his mind, what differentiates Google from Facebook, for example, is Google's willingness to diversify its holdings.
"I tend to question the valuation of something like Facebook and social media," Burrows said. "I wouldn't put them [in the] same value for the long term. "
Damianos Sotheby's International Realty's George Damianos was inducted into the Billionaires Club during the recent Who's Who in Luxury Real Estate's annual fall conference in Boston, Massachusetts.
Damianos is a member of Who's Who in Luxury Real Estate, an exclusive organization which offers membership by invitation only and is limited to 500 companies.
At the conference Saul Cohen, president and co-founder of Hammond Residential Real Estate, was honored with the Luxury Real Estate Lifetime Achievement Award.
Members of the Who's Who in Luxury Real Estate network participated in expert panel discussions on a diverse range of topics including working with international buyers, the latest technologies to win and market a listing and cultivating your network by leveraging your connections to grow your business.
More targeted discussions led by Luxury Real Estate members and partners included negotiating from a number of different perspectives, technology tips to sell more real estate, current findings on Chinese real estate investment, marketing a lifestyle for resort destinations, how to find and activate the top one percenters and tips on growing your business to the next level while keeping a healthy work/life balance.
The Luxury Real Estate Board of Regents was honored at this year's fall conference to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the brand. The board met preceding the event for further networking opportunities and a presentation from Jim Gardner of The Wall Street Journal on luxury real estate insights. In addition to Cohen, recipients of the Luxury Real Estate awards include: Best app: Harry Norman, Realtors; Best brand integration: Towne Realty Group; Best digital marketing: The Invidiata Team; Best industry networking: Tim Savage; Best overall marketing package: Concierge Auctions; Best print marketing: Carmel Realty Company; Best video: Jon Wade; Best website: Handsome Properties; Billionaires Club: Joe Babajian, Mauricio Umansky, Creig Northrop, John Klemish, Elizabeth Stribling, George Damianos and Malcolm Dingle; Extraordinary philanthropist: Jim Walberg; Highest average sales price: Stribling & Associates; Master networker: Colleen Olson, Julia Hoagland, Lisa James Otto, Paul Benson, Denise Pruitt, Kirsten Johnson, Joseph Himali, John Stough, Scott Maizlish and Edgar Van Schaik; Most innovative marketing technique: Resources Real Estate; Most outbound referrals: Waterfront Properties and Club Communities; Outstanding development: The Greenbrier Sporting Club; Outstanding rookie: Farrah Aldjufrie; Outstanding social media savvy: Lila Delman Real Estate; Significant sales: Eleanor Farnsworth, Mauricio Umansky, Nancy Pandolfi, Concierge Auctions, Faith Wilson, Stephanie Mallios and Brian Hazen.
By NEIL HARTNELL
Tribune Business Editor
A RULING by Chief Justice Sir Michael Barnett might deter Bahamian workers with "marginal claims" from pursuing employment cases in the Supreme Court, rather than the Industrial Tribunal, a leading law firm arguing that it dramatically reduces the 'costs' leverage they can exert.
Higgs & Johnson, in its latest client bulletin dealing with the award of legal costs in employment actions, said a March 2010 ruling by Sir Michael could "remove a tool from the arsenal of the vexatious litigant" seeking to pressure a company into settlement, as he declined to award legal costs to a wrongfully dismissed employee who one their case. ...
Fort Charlotte MP Dr. Andre Rollins has had a long, intoxicating run in the headlines.
After repeatedly incensing his party with his highly critical statements in and outside the House of Assembly, Rollins must now decide whether he will apologize in the House of Assembly for verbally attacking Prime Minister Perry Christie on the floor of the House.
The demand for an apology was made by the National General Council (NGC) of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) at its meeting on Thursday night.
On August 20, Rollins declared that "it is evident we need new political leadership" in the country.
Rollins expressed anger over the fact that Christie spent a majority of his contribution to the value-added tax debate to "threaten" backbenchers for their dissenting views, instead of providing "hope and comfort" to Bahamians who are concerned about the impact of VAT.
He also said he was tired of listening to the prime minister quote scripture.
We noted in this space before that Rollins resonated.
He did so because he echoed what so many Bahamians are feeling: The country needs new leadership. We are without clear direction.
While Rollins' stunning criticisms of Christie last month drew him applause in many circles, his recent comments on the controversial matter of a letter of intent (LOI) his friend Renward Wells signed with a waste-to-energy company in early July without Cabinet approval signaled that Rollins may be losing momentum.
His clarification notwithstanding, Rollins left many people with the impression that he knows of something untoward about the matter.
It is easy to see why so many people were left with the view that the MP knows of some wrongdoing in relation to the LOI affair.
Rollins himself acknowledged: "I can understand how I may have created this impression. I certainly regret that such an impression was created."
In his original statement, he seemed to have issued a direct threat to the government.
Rollins said if Wells is fired over the matter "some other people need to be fired too".
His comment was directly in response to the question, "Do you think Renward Wells should be fired?"
Rollins said, "In time, if that happens, I am prepared to say who also should be fired, because there is more than meets the eye when it comes to this whole, as you call it, LOI affair," he told NB12's Vaughnique Toote in an interview.
Rollins added, "If Renward Wells needs to be fired, he is not the only one, and I have a problem with you trying to scapegoat my friend. So when I say that I believed we were used as tokens, I was also referencing that matter."
While he later said that he did not impute corrupt motives to anyone, many people have had a hard time accepting that he did not make a clear suggestion of wrongdoing based on his statements.
Amid widespread negative reaction to his comments to Toote, Rollins explained: "I was referring to the principles of ministerial and collective responsibility as defined by the Westminster system of government and in that regard, I sought to convey that any shortcomings or failings with respect to the LOI matter cannot be leveled solely at the feet of a junior member of the government".
He said to do so would make the individual a scapegoat, which would demonstrate a clear lack of respect for that individual and the system of government we are supposed to be guided by.
Rollins should be guarded in his choice of words, particularly as there is great public interest in him at this time and in the LOI matter.
His statement in response to the reaction to his comments in the NB12 interview seemed to reflect a backtracking of a very clear impression he left.
While Rollins is shaking up the status quo, we would hope that he would not make comments that suggest he knows something the public should know, and is using that knowledge as leverage to have his way.
If Rollins does know of some wrongdoing we would hope he would reveal it, whether or not Christie takes action against his friend.
Not surprisingly, Rollins' statement to Toote drew a strong response from PLP Chairman Bradley Roberts.
"We will see hell freeze over and the second coming before Andre Rollins blackmails a PLP government or organization because his egomaniacal and selfish genotype prevents him from reasonable and balanced behavior and being a team player," he said.
"If he is so dissatisfied in the leadership of the PLP, he can freely leave just as he freely joined the organization."
Roberts challenged Rollins to "put up or shut up".
By his statement in response, Rollins appears to have put his tail between his legs and scurried away.
Interestingly, Roberts and the PLP were quiet when Tall Pines MP Leslie Miller made his own strong statements on the LOI issue on July 31.
Miller's statements were not so far off from the recent comments made by Rollins.
"I think he was coerced in [signing] this so-called document that he signed, by people who should know better, by seasoned men who have been around for a long time and they know why they would have gone to him to sign this so-called document and he signed it," Miller said.
"So he may have signed it out of ignorance or just out of trying to be helpful to people who he knows are friendly with other people.
"Should his whole career go down the drain because of a letter he signed where the [permanent secretary in the Ministry of Works] says the government is not binding?"
Are Roberts and the PLP concerned that Miller accused senior men in the party of "coercing" Wells to sign the document?
Clearly, Rollins is on a war path with his party. His relationship with the PLP is turbulent.
If he decides to stay with the PLP it could be in for a very rough ride with this vocal backbencher who took the gloves off weeks ago.
If the party expels him, it may face even more problems from Rollins.
We see no benefit to the party in kicking Rollins out.
If Renward Wells decides that his alliance and friendship with Rollins is more important than his love for or commitment to the PLP, this could present another dynamic.
Deciding how to deal with Rollins then is a tough decision for the PLP.
The party revealed after its council meeting on Thursday night that Roberts appointed a four-person committee from the National General Council to decide what sanctions, if any, Rollins should face for his public comments regarding the party over the last few months.
Rollins told us in an interview earlier this month he has no plans to leave the party.
"The PLP is where I am," he said.
"I believe the PLP has the capacity to effect change. If I see things happening that I don't agree [with] and I don't support, I make it known to the public.
"It may be that I have no future in the PLP. If the PLP decides that they don't want me, I cannot force myself on the PLP.
"But I'm not about looking for political cover or trying to do what is politically expedient in the hope that I would be re-elected as some would suggest.
"But I don't have time to suffer fools. If you are doing nonsense, I will say so, and if you have a problem with me speaking my mind because I am echoing what the Bahamian people are saying and feeling, tough.
"And if that means you have no place for me, so be it, but I hope you understand that just because you have some in the party who want nothing to do with me, that should not mean that I should be out there finding out who does in fact want me.
"I can't do that, and I haven't met with any other political party or parties. I can assure you of that."
The jury is out on Rollins' political fate and his future with the PLP.
Valentine Grimes, the former parliamentarian who heads the PLP committee looking into the Rollins matter, told National Review there is nothing wrong with members being critical of the leadership and of the party.
"It is where they are critical and if they do so publicly how they do so, and I think that's the difference that may have arisen within the PLP family," he said on Friday.
"I think it is important for any member of Parliament to understand the workings of the party and understand the make-up of the people who are part of the organization.
"PLPs have said from time immemorial, the PLP was bigger than [former Prime Minister the late] Sir Lynden Pindling and Christie would say the PLP is bigger than Perry Christie and it's important for those MPs who are part of that to understand that."
Grimes added, "I think that Rollins has a tremendous future in the country. There may or may not have been a misstep. The team appointed will properly investigate the matter and come up with the best solution and hopefully the best solution will be what is in the interest of the party and what is in the interest of Dr. Rollins."
Grimes said it is important for the party to put the Rollins matter behind it, as it is an unnecessary distraction. The government has more important issues to focus on, he noted.
For Rollins, this ought to be a period of soul searching.
If he still believes he has a place in the PLP, he must seek to strike the right balance between being an effective backbencher who helps keep the government on course, and being a team player.
If he continues to attack the leadership, he would be increasingly ostracized by his party.
If he does this, he might still have a political future outside the PLP.
But Rollins must be careful not to come across as an angry, self-absorbed man seeking to grab more headlines.
While his brand of politics has been largely welcomed and refreshing, his continued public fight with the PLP could become tiring, and in time less entertaining to many political observers.
The young MP clearly has a lot to offer. He is bright. His stock is high. He is well liked and respected for his courage.
But he should also be sound and measured in his statements moving forward.
Senior lenders in Kerzner International's $2.6 billion mortgage debt have appointed Wells Fargo as special servicer to the loan despite its role in an alleged "sweetheart deal" to seize Atlantis.
The move could indicate an improved relationship between the parties.
Earlier this month, a group of senior lenders attempted to sue Brookfield Asset Management, PCCP and Wells Fargo for allegely engaging in "brazen self dealing" to acquire the Paradise Island properties.
The lawsuit was dropped a few days later after a U.S. judge temporarily suspended the deal, prompting Brookfield to withdraw its offer.
According to U.S. court documents, Wells Fargo played an active role in the events that led to Brookfield acquiring Kerzner's assets in The Bahamas and Mexico in a debt-for-equity swap.
Wells Fargo was appointed as special servicer on the loan by Brookfield just three days before circulating "a draft consent for this transaction in which the box for its consent was already checked off".
"A mere 12 hours later, on the morning of December 12, Wells Fargo circulated its final consent in which the same box was checked off," the court document read.
Top accountant and liquidator Craig Tony Gomez said Kerzner's continued default on the $2.6 billion loan necessitates the presence of a special servicer.
He told Guardian Business the lenders could have assigned someone else, but the fact they haven't shows value is being placed on Wells Fargo's familiarity with the matter.
The lenders will not want the "upward learning curve" that could come into play with a new special servicer, he explained, and Wells Fargo "has a reputation to protect".
"Now that Brookfield has backed off, Wells Fargo will treat the situation fairly," Gomez said, who is also the managing director at Nassau's baker Tilly Gomez. "This is not unusual for American practices. Wells Fargo was already there and it makes sense."
While Wells Fargo has been brought on as special servicer, it is unknown if the maturity date for the loan has been extended to accommodate negotiations.
On January 13, this newspaper exclusively reported a legal battle being waged between Brookfield and senior lenders of Kerzner International.
From the time the loan went into default last spring until December 8, 2011, Brookfield acted as special servicer to administer the loan for all lenders.
"Not withstanding this, and in breach of contractual and legal duties they owed to plaintiffs and other lenders and participants, they have negotiated a sweetheart deal principally for their own benefit," the document stated.
Wells Fargo, brought on as special servicer on December 8, approved an extention of the final maturity for the loan to December 20, 2011 "without ever seeking, let alone obtaining, the consent of plaintiffs and other junior participants".
A further extension was granted by Wells Fargo not long thereafter to January 6, 2012.
The plaintiffs alleged Brookfield and Wells Fargo then worked with PCCP, the second most junior lenders, and leveraged its powers as "directing holder and controlling holder" to sign off on the asset transfer.
Last November, Guardian Business attended the press conference when Sir Sol Kerzner, the founder of Kerzner International, announced he would exchange $175 million of debt for Atlantis on Paradise Island, The One&Only Ocean Club and the One&Only Palmilla in Mexico.
An online brokerage launched early last year is reporting more than 100,000 equity transactions each day, a figure that far exceeds all other Bahamian firms combined.
SureTrader.com, listed with the Securities Exchange of The Bahamas since January 2012, has increased its staff to eight Bahamians and filled out its 4,000-square-foot office at Elizabeth on Bay. The firm plans to hire up to 20 more people by the end of this year and currently seeks professional Bahamians amid expansion, according to its founder Guy Gentile.
The parent company, Swiss American Securities Limited, is also the founder of SpeedTrader.com, a U.S. online trading broker with around $20 million in annual revenue.
Gentile told Guardian Business that SureTrader.com is poised to earn $25 million in annual revenue in 2013.
"What gives us our edge is superior trading technology and a New York business approach," he said. "I operate a lean aggressive staff that has a strong desire to be the best. Not only the best in The Bahamas, but the best in the world."
Gentile added that SureTrader.com hopes to open 5,000 new accounts in 2013 after opening 2,000 in 2012. The firm wants to become the largest brokerage in The Bahamas by revenue in 2014.
"We have given ourselves an advantage by offering extended margin leverage of 6-1 compared to 3-1 in Canada and 4-1 in the U.S. We have the largest short list in the industry, we allow shorting in penny stocks, and you can fund an account easily with a credit card. There are no restrictions on day trading," he added.
Later this year, Swiss American plans to widen its project offerings through Canadian stock and options, Gentile said, and by connecting VISA debit cards to the accounts.
Following a staffing boost, the firm also wants to offer a customer service line and eventually go to 24 hours after adding European trading. The company has recently aligned itself with RBC Royal Bank, Interactive Brokers, ETC Clearing and DAS Trader.
Gentile, a U.S. investor, remains the largest tenant in the Elizabeth on Bay plaza, located on East Bay Street. He has invested approximately $400,000 into the new SureTrader.com office, with an additional $1.5 million or so in Sur Sushi.
The latter is expected to open in the coming weeks.
Back in December, Gentile reported that the restaurant has received more than 500 applications. Only 45 Bahamians will be hired for the trendy, new restaurant. Blu, formerly located across from the up-and-coming Sur Sushi, closed its doors late last year and put dozens of Bahamians out of work. Investors hope Gentile and his business ventures will help re-energize the plaza and East Bay Street.
Trading volumes on the Bahamian index dropped sharply in 2011, according to the latest statistical report.
Only 2,899,465 share trades took place last year compared to 10,859,846 in 2010.
A major reason behind the fall on The Bahamas International Securities Exchange (BISX) was the 5,954,600 share trade in Cable Bahamas Limited (CAB) in January 2010 and 1,073,917 share trades at ICD Utilities Limited in December 2010.
Removing these block trades, the number of trades for 2010 would be 3,831,329.
The total value of trades in 2011 was $15,015,550.70.
Keith Davies, the president of BISX, said these numbers "reflect the times we are in".
He expressed optimism that a number of prospects are on the horizon, including the imminent inclusion of shares from APD Limited's highly successful $10 million initial public offering (IPO).
"I think the short answer is we're hopeful," Davies said.
"Every indication shows more activity in the primary market, which should lead to secondary market activity. It's hard to predict how people will trade, whether they will hold on or we'll see movement. If those shares are highly sought you may see some increased activity."
The BISX chief did note, however, that 2011 was a "slow year".
He felt the results were understandable and realistic given the state of the global economy, with many investors holding onto their dollars in self-defense.
When asked by Guardian Business if Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) should achieve a BISX listing soon, Davies said the oil firm had made inquiries, but no formal documentation has been received.
"I am not aware of anything formal that has been submitted to us at all," he added.
BPC has made several public statements in recent months on its intention to list shares on the Bahamian index. Davies agreed that once this happens, it could also inspire more trading activity.
Davies reported further progress on constructing the right framework so U.S. corporations can come to BISX to list securities.
BISX achieved Designated Offshore Securities Market (DOSM) status in November of last year.
The index is now taking steps to leverage that recognition, he explained, by providing incentives and putting in the right structures "around which persons can use the designation".
By the end of this year, Davies anticipated BISX will have created "the road map" for DOSM.
According to the annual report, BISX ended 2011 at 1,364.99, which represents a decrease of 8.97 percent. In 2010, the index also experienced a drop of 4.21 percent.
The top five share volume leaders on BISX for 2011 were Commonwealth Bank Limited (CBL), AML Foods, Colina Holdings Limited (CHL), Bank of the Bahamas (BOB) and Freeport Oil Holdings Company Limited (FCLB).
CBL constituted nearly 35 percent of all trade activity last year.
Nassau, The Bahamas - Minister of
Labour and Social Development Senator the Hon. Dion Foulkes said Prime Minister
the Rt Hon. Hubert Ingraham pushed through a major training initiative for
scores of Bahamians to the tune of $8 million overall during his recent visit
to China to discuss the Baha Mar project.
During his contribution in the Senate on
Wednesday Mr Foulkes said, "Such training will have a ripple effect throughout
the economy as workers leverage this training to take advantage of many other
opportunities to use their new skills for many years to come.
Thousands of Bahamians, contractors,
unskilled and skilled workers and their families will also significantly
benefit from the doubling of contracts from $200 million to $400 million, he
Malaysia-based conglomerate Genting Group; China State Construction and Engineering Corporation; Inter-Energy, a Cayman-based company; Texas-based Caribbean Power Partners and Bahamas-based Northern Bahamas Utilities Holdings Company (NBU), along with U.S.-based Pike corporation and PowerSecure are among the companies who paid the $25,000 fee to participate in the request for proposal for the Bahamas Electricity Corporation, Guardian Business has been reliably informed.
While a confidentiality clause in the terms of their participation has stopped much information from being released to the public on who is involved in the process, this newspaper has been told by several sources close to the matter that Genting, China State Construction and Engineering, Inter-Energy and Caribbean Power Partners were interested primarily in being involved on the generation side, while Pike, who was partnering with NBU, and PowerSecure were seeking the transmission and distribution contract.
The Bahamian group, NBU, a utility engineering and consulting firm composed of four former management and engineering employees of Grand Bahama Power Company, is reported to have exited the process, according to several sources close to the process, as has the Genting Group.
Northern Bahamas Utilities had initially partnered with PowerSecure, but was removed from the submission after NBU is understood to have determined that it would also enter into a partnership with Pike.
understands that with Pike and NBU now out of the process, this may just leave PowerSecure in the running for the management contract to take over BEC's transmission and distribution functions and assets, which will be transferred into a new company.
Carlton Bosfield, president of NBU, yesterday declined to comment on his involvement in the BEC RFP process, including whether he remains involved.
His exit, however, would fit with recent comments made by Deputy Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis, who indicated that no Bahamian companies were involved in the RFP process, after one fell out in the second stage.
PowerSecure's Senior Vice President for Investor Relations and Corporate Communications John Bluth yesterday declined to comment on any participation by PowerSecure in the RFP process, which calls upon participating companies to be bound by a non-disclosure agreement.
Guardian Business yesterday received mixed signals as to whether KPMG has submitted its final recommendations to the government on which company should be treated as "preferred bidders" in the BEC reform process. While these recommendations are believed to be imminent, enabling the government to move into the negotiation phase, it could not be confirmed if they have yet been put forward.
Based on information received by this newspaper so far, recommendations on the transmission and distribution side will be more straightforward, given the exit of Pike and their partner, NBU, from the process. Meanwhile, on the generation side, three companies could still be in the running.
Bidding for transmission and distribution responsibilities, PowerSecure is a publicly-listed North-Carolina-based sustainable energy company. It made itself known to the Bahamian public prior to the BEC RFP process began in mid-August in an interview with Guardian Business in which it touted its "smart grid" solution with "distributed energy" that would see smaller-scale "firm solar" power generation throughout The Bahamas.
PowerSecure Chief Sales Officer Mark Martyak said at that time, which was prior to the government issuing the redefined RFP, that PowerSecure's intention was to take advantage of The Bahamas' abundant solar resources, while backing this up with diesel or natural gas-powered generation.
Guardian Business understands that among the "core competencies" highlighted by PowerSecure as relevant to its bid to take over transmission and distribution responsibilities - these include having installed over 1,600 miles of T&D lines in the last five years; having 300 commercial vehicles involved in construction and maintenance of power lines, most of which are based in South Florida; serving numerous U.S. utilities; having over 1,500MWs of distributed generation capacity installed and controlled on a "turnkey basis" for U.S. utility demand response and load management purposes; and specializing in utility scale solar power, among other factors.
On the generation side, the Genting Group is best known for their investment in the resort sector, in particular in Bimini, in the form of the currently controversial Resorts World Bimini project.
That project saw the Malaysia-based conglomerate purchase the former Bimini Bay Resort, and swiftly begin to significantly expand the development.
The company's plans to build a ferry terminal on the island are now the subject of a legal action by the Bimini Blue Coalition, which hopes to obtain an injunction and a judicial review of the project in light of concerns as to whether permits were properly obtained, and potential damage to the surrounding environment.
The multinational company is primarily focused on the leisure and hospitality sector, but does have some experience in power generation.
China State Construction and Engineering Corporation is a state-owned Chinese company that primarily focuses on large-scale construction projects. They are presently best known as the parent company of Baha Mar general contractor, China Construction America.
Guardian Business understands that they have also been involved in installing significant generation capacity globally.
Caribbean Power Partners, led by Texan principal, Taylor Cheek, also came forward prior to the official launch of the redefined BEC RFP process, touting their $700 million proposal for a power plant in Nassau that they suggested could have $15.4 billion impact on the Bahamian economy over a 25-year span.
Their build/own/operate solution, in partnership with Fluor Corporation, a major power plant construction company which has installed the largest volume of generation capacity globally of all of the entities bidding, would have seen the company become an independent power producer selling power back to BEC as a means of reducing energy costs. It is not clear how their proposal has evolved since they entered the RFP process.
Inter-Energy, meanwhile, is one of the largest investors in the power sector of the Dominican Republic, and describes itself as a "renewable energy pioneer" in the country where it established its first wind generation park.
The company's website sites plans to leverage its experience and expansion in the Dominican Republic in order to enter other markets in the Caribbean and Latin American region.
The Central Bank has reported on some of its major initiatives that will continue over the course of this year, including collaboration with other regulatory agencies on the creation of a National Financial Crisis Management Plan.
The report noted that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) gave assistance to this effort through a "technical assistance mission on crisis resolution powers, including the creation of a roadmap for establishing a legal and regulatory framework for bank resolution".
In an effort to further mitigate the risks to the banking sector, the bank reported that during the fourth quarter of 2013, the formal rollout of the Basel II and III Implementation Programs, which are slated to be executed in three phases over a 30-month timeline, began.
Basel II, initially published in June 2004, was intended to create an international standard for banking regulators to control how much capital banks need to put aside to guard against the types of financial and operational risks banks face. Such risks could, in turn, affect the whole economy if not mitigated. Basel III, also known as the Third Basel Accord, is a global, voluntary regulatory standard on bank capital adequacy, stress testing and market liquidity risk. Basel III was supposed to strengthen bank capital requirements by increasing bank liquidity and decreasing bank leverage.
The bank said that although a 2012 financial sector assessment program (FSAP) revealed that there were no significant risks to the financial system, domestic regulators acknowledged the need to prepare a comprehensive crisis management framework to address any adverse developments in the sector.
"In this regard, the major regulators continued to collaborate on a National Financial Crisis Management Plan and also received assistance from the IMF in the form of a technical assistance mission on crisis resolution powers, including the creation of a roadmap for establishing a legal and regulatory framework for bank resolution."
"In 2014, further progress is expected to be made in a number of these initiatives, which are designed to improve the ability of regulators to identify potential risks to the system. This includes the bank's plans to enhance its stress testing framework by using other plausible scenarios, as well as work towards the prospective introduction of a credit reporting framework, which will assist lending institutions in determining the credit risk of individual clients."
The bank's reports are contained in its Financial Stability Report December 2013, published on September 12, 2014.