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Will Phoenix Park IPO outperform First Citizens?

Thursday, February 6, 2014
Energy companies exhibit at the trade show of the 2014 Energy Conference, which ended yesterday at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad hotel, Port-of-Spain. PHOTO: SHIRLEY BAHADUR

One of the consistent themes of this column is its promotion of the divestment of state companies in a way that empowers and enriches T&T’s middle classes.


As recently as the first week in September last year, in a commentary headlined Is divestment key to PP victory in 2015?, it was argued that divestment facilitated at least nine advantages for the State, as well as local individual and institutional investors.


Using the highly successful First Citizens initial public offering (IPO) of shares in September 2013 as a template, it was argued that the divestment of state enterprises adds revenues to the State’s coffers, allows the State to maintain control of enterprises such as First Citizens and facilitates an unprecedented transfer of wealth from the State to the middle classes.


That piece last year also argued that, in a T&T context, a well-thought-out programme of divestment serves to limit the inflationary impulses in the country, as individual investors, in particular, develop the habit of deferring expenditure in order to invest their savings for the long term. 


Divestment also tends to reverse the trend of individuals and institutions converting their T&T earnings into foreign currencies, dry up TT-dollar liquidity and strengthen local pension portfolios, which have been severely impacted by the low interest rate environment.