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Drive to get Junior Market listings

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

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Medium-sized enterprises are yet to take advantage of an offer to be listed on the junior market of the Barbados Stock Exchange (BSE) despite a number of incentives set out in the budgetary proposals last June.
However, Lynette Holder, the chief executive officer of the Barbados Small Business Association (SBA), said the campaign was not over, and this year the SBA would be continuing its efforts to get some of its members listed.
Holder told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY that while micro and small businesses did not have the capacity to trade, five medium-sized enterprises were  identified to join the stock market last year.   
“We started it last year with the Barbados Stock Exchange and we are going to continue that,” she said.
“When we did the workshop with the Stock Exchange we had earmarked a few of our medium enterprises and there was some limited interest from those medium enterprises that attended,” she said.
Though not providing details, Holder said there were still “some issues” that needed to be resolved in order to attract more interest, adding that she was not sure some of the companies were “satisfied” with the concessions offered them.
Noting that “the Junior Stock Market has remained grossly underdeveloped”, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler had proposed a ten-year package of tax breaks for companies that chose to be listed.
They included an income tax holiday on 25 per cent of the company’s operation for the first five years.
In order for companies to qualify for the incentives, Sinckler said they “must have a minimum of 50 shareholders, no single shareholder should own more than 25 per cent of the shares of the company and no other shareholder should own more than five per cent of the shares.”
When contacted, one BSE source said the issue was “getting the business owners to want to list”.
According to the source: “The provision is there and we are prepared to take on new listings but it is if the companies are [ready]. It is a company’s decision, not a stock exchange decision, so we can’t force people to list, they have to want to list.” (MM)