CL Financial had there hands in everything that made money :Real Estate,Mall,Banking and Finance(insurance of every flavor),Energy and Petrochemical,Marine services ,Medical services, Alcohol,Forestry and Agriculture. Luke 12:14-21 tells quite a fitting parable
Chairman of CL Financial and Angostura Holdings, Lawrence Duprey, is one of the Caribbean's leading entrepreneurs—a home-grown billionaire with interests in real estate, property development, banking, insurance, spirits, methanol, ethanol and the exploration and production of oil and gas.
Founded in 1936 by his uncle Cyril Lucius Duprey, Colonial Life became the first locally owned life insurance company incorporated in T&T.
Cyril Duprey was the company's first managing director before being appointed as chairman of the board during the 60s. Lawrence Duprey joined the Colonial Life team as head of the data processing operations department in 1970. He was appointed as chairman of the board in 1993.
He has left a big footprint across the Caribbean and his indomitable verve and drive has taken him beyond Caribbean shores.
To say he is simply a Caribbean business tycoon may be doing him a disservice. Rather, he is a business titan who hails from T&T and the Caribbean.
He is perhaps the only Caribbean corporate giant with such a wide-ranging portfolio of businesses.
Angostura, one of CL Financial’s subsidiaries, is looking to acquire the Jamaican conglomerate Lascelles deMercado and Company and bring the Appleton Rum brand into its stable of spirits. The deal is valued at about US$10 a share, valuing the whole transaction at about US$900 million.
At a special luncheon he hosted in Kingston for the cream of Jamaica's business community earlier this month, Duprey pointed out that J Wray & Nephew, like Colonial Life, is an outstanding Caribbean company that has served its people well in the past. He noted that Appleton, like Angostura, has the potential to be a global brand.
"When you go out into the international markets you ask yourself—Angostura is on this shelf, why isn’t Appleton? Or Appleton is on ten shelves and Angostura is only on two. Now as you go about asking questions you see it is all about resources. Many times those resources are financial resources.
"As you look across these beautiful islands that we call home, we know we have been given sunshine, beautiful weather, fantastic beaches, but we have not been blessed with the financial endowment that they have perhaps in the Middle East.
"That means that people like me—and I see myself as an economic nationalist helping to build the country from which I came—the only solution that I saw was that those of us working from a position of strength have to get together. We have to combine both our financial and intellectual resources in order to compete globally. Why? Because comparable advantages are really the operatives in the marketplace."
He pointed out that the Caribbean has witnessed economic changes that will severely affect the livelihoods of its citizens. Supporting his premise, he referred to oil prices hitting the US$100 a barrel mark last month.
"This means that those who are the have-nots will be more disadvantaged in the future than they were in the past because the world has changed. Countries in the Caribbean, like Jamaica, that are not blessed with plentiful hydrocarbons are going to have a lesser chance in the future than they did in the past unless something happens unexpectedly and oil slides down to around US$30 a barrel. But that is not in the foreseeable future in the book that I read.”
Duprey went on to say that when Caribbean countries go out in the world to compete they need all the help they can get and the best help always comes from home.
"This is why we saw an iconic brand like Appleton out there and we envied some of the positions it held. We then took a look at our brands and we said. 'Let's join forces and fight the battle together.' If we have the right intellectual capital and we manage our resources well, then we don't have to be as poor as we are. We can distribute income more evenly so that it doesn't just reside with a few because there will be enough to go around."
Duprey said that the Angostura/ Lascelles deal is an opportunity for T&T and Jamaica to partner in an enterprise that can go around the globe. He said it was important to consider what Angostura brings to the table. Like J Wray & Nephew, Angostura is also a manufacturer of rum but the Trinidadian company has travelled the globe extensively and created a platform called CL World Brands with offices all over the world.
"We hope one day that the marketing expertise from the Caribbean can compete with the marketing expertise, say, from Japan for our products and make our products stand out as the premium products that they are. They are indeed the luxury products of choice. Small economies like ours cannot be blockbusters like the US. Our product runs are short, therefore they should be high quality.
"They should be well-promoted and managed with a high level of profit. Luxury and premiumisation is a trend that is occurring now in the market, which plays right into our hands. We can now combine two great brands that give us the advantage."
This advantage, as he sees it, meant that local industry will be manufacturing premium products and marketing them in the most lucrative spots in the world.
He stressed that it was important to extract the maximum from the Caribbean’s natural assets such as sugar cane. He noted that the sugar protocol took a look at the products of cane, namely sugar, rum etc, as products that are going to be consumed by human beings. He said he believes that with oil at US$100 a barrel, the Caribbean has to take a second look at this valuable industry to see whether the region has an energy component coming out of cane which can be consumed by motor cars.
"The classic example here is Brazil. What Brazil has done with cane is a good example for us to emulate. At one time, Barbados was the richest island in the world because of sugar. That position got away from us and I would like to recapture it once again for our people. Not only the premiumisation of the consumables, but maybe we need to look at energy and other byproducts which will makes us once again a competitive player in the global economy.”
He said he felt that Jamaica’s business community should look favourably upon Angostura’s bid for Lascelles because the Trinidadian company is not just coming to Jamaica but is sharing its assets and expertise with it.
"We are getting together because we can’t compete globally, but we can compete locally, and if we get together our strengths will assist both of us mutually to compete out there in the international marketplace.
"The tide is now running in our favour because the consumption of rum is in the ascendancy so we have to do it right."
Duprey emphasised that the structure of this deal means that the people of Jamaica will continue to get the benefits of their resources. He declared that Lascelles will remain listed on the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) with Angostura doing likewise on the T&T Stock Exchange (TTSE). The fact that separately liquidity is limited did not escape his attention thus the aim is to get both companies together, build a global brand and get liquidity by launching it on a larger exchange, preferably London.
"We would like to bring financial liquidity to a company that is owned by Jamaicans and Trinidadians, so that it would strengthen our financial system and open trading opportunities not only for ourselves but for people from outside who want to buy into what we do.
The way the share price and buy-out is structured means one can choose to stay in or get out. But let me give you a word of advice. I will guarantee that if one stays in, the rate of return will be higher than any other stock listed on the JSE and on the TTSE.
"We have built a market globally with strong products and we are good producers looking for liquidity on the London Stock Exchange for a fairly large-sized company.
"Our vision is to create a drinks company that produces high-quality spirits marketed in niches where we can maximise the profit from quality products. This is not Caribbeanisation in theory; it is Caribbeanisation in practice." —Jamaican Observer
Methanol flows from plant in Oman
The two-million-tonne-per-annum CL Financial methanol plant in Oman began production on Saturday, a senior official of the company disclosed yesterday.
The official, who did not want to be named, said CL Financial and its German partners owned 80 per cent of the equity in the US$1.5 billion methanol plant.
"This means that CL Financial is one of the few non-Middle Eastern companies with investments in the downstream energy sector there," said the official.
Even as he was involved in the "soft" commissioning of the methanol plant in Oman, the official said CL Financial chairman Lawrence Duprey was holding discussions to establish two more methanol plants in the Middle East.
Duprey was in Qatar yesterday talking with the Emir there about the possibility of CL Financial and its partners establishing a facility there. He had earlier started talking with the leadership in Oman about building additional methanol capacity there.
"This is part of our strategy to diversify methanol production away from Point Lisas in order for the group to reach markets in the Far East and to take advantage of natural gas prices and reserves in the Middle East."
Officials of Industrial Plant and Services, a local company heavily involved in plant operations in Point Lisas, were in Oman to train workers there to operate the new Oman plant.
CL Financial's goal is to become the world's largest producer of methanol, a commodity that is currently commanding high prices on the world market, the official said.
Staff get letters of termination
Thursday, February 19th 2009
The CL Financial conglomerate is serving termination letters to staff members as the Lawrence Duprey-led holdings company grapples with the meltdown of several of its financial services subsidiaries.
Sources close to CL Financial confirmed yesterday that the move was part of a "rationalisation" of the group that has more than 60 companies in 32 countries.
Termination letters for CL Financial's core staff of about 20 are being distributed as part of a "good strategy", to help the Port of Spain-based insurance and banking powerhouse recover from a $10 billion statutory reserve deficit at insurance provider CLICO, one of CL Financial's flagship companies, another source close to the group of companies told the Express.
CL Financial staff members are expected to be re-hired, on a contract basis, by mid-March, the source added on condition of anonymity.
The action comes amid a meltdown of CL Financial subsidiary CLICO Investment Bank last month.
Thirty-seven of the 91 employees of the now-dissolved financial services company have been sent home, while the remainder are expected to be laid off by month's end.
CIB's deposits and liabilities have been taken over by State bank First Citizens, while a new Board of Directors led by former Central Bank Governor, Euric Bobb, has been installed to manage the affairs of CLICO.
A new Board of Directors is expected to be appointed this week to oversee the operations of British American Insurance, another CL Financial subsidiary.
CL Financial chairman Duprey approached the Central Bank and Government in January for financial help, after depositors clamoured for their money back at CIB, CLICO, British American and brokerage house CMMB.