Business

First Rock turns to overseas acquisitions

…closes US$4-m real estate deals in Cayman and Florida

BY DURRANT PATE
Observer Business writer

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

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Having closed several big local real estate deals, First Rock Capital Holdings, a real estate and private equity company with regional subsidiaries is now turning its attention to overseas acquisitions.

In the first phase of its overseas acquisition programme, First Rock recently executed two purchases in the Cayman Islands and Florida worth US$4 million (approx. J$520 million) and is about to close in on two more. One is in Guyana and the other in Costa Rica.

When questioned about these two new overseas deals, Ryan Reid, president and co-founder of First Rock told The Observer that while he is “very excited about these two opportunities; I can't speak much about them now, but in due course.”

He emphasised that these two countries were particularly chosen for investment given their strong economic performance.

“As stated months ago, we will only deploy capital in jurisdictions that exhibit economic growth….so there are some jurisdictions that we will stay clear of at this time,” Reid reasoned, citing Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, as two of those no-go countries at this time. He made the point that First Rock, which he co-founded with Dr Michael Banbury over a year ago, “has been very aggressive in its capital deployment”.

CAYMAN AND FLORIDA ACQUISITIONS

The company, through its subsidiary First Rock Capital Cayman Limited, recently executed a US$3-million deal in the Cayman Islands for a luxury residential development that should be completed in February next year while through its subsidiary, First Rock USA LLC, it has also made an investment of US$1million on properties in the state of Florida.

The Florida investment is for the acquisition of two residential properties, which is purely for income. First Rock has been forthcoming in attracting great partnerships, as it makes major injections into various real estate and private equity ventures locally and overseas.

Reid is particularly pleased with the acquisitions noting that “the company continues to positively stamp its mark in the real sectors. With the impact we have had in such a short period, the company is expected to grow rapidly through the prudent but gumptious management of our affairs”.

In line with investment strategy predicated on the $2.5 billion in capital raised from private investors earlier this year, First Rock closed on a large commercial property, which it now owns in the Half-Way-Tree area, which represents a deployment of $400 million.

The First Rock boss informed that “the property is fully tenanted, with a blue chip company that holds a long-term lease and pays in US dollars that gives up double-digit lease income, and we are very excited about that.”

In addition, First Rock closed on a property measuring a little over an acre in the Golden Triangle area of upper St Andrew, on which it is planning to undertake “a sizable development, which will commence in a few months. We have deployed over $200 million thus far on this property.

The growing real estate and private equity company has also deployed capital in a luxury villa development on the north coast as well as units in a major upcoming residential development in Barbican, St Andrew.

Reid noted that “for the Jamaican market, rental income properties will only be commercial; we are not interested in residential for rental income”.


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