Archive for October, 2016

Tibbetts begins process to create utilities regulator

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

The minister responsible for planning and public works began the process of dealing with a bundle of legislation in order to pave the way for the much-anticipated utilities commission.

The government hopes that this commission will not only act as the umbrella regulator for the technology, power, fuel and water sectors but also serve as a watchdog for consumer protection. The new commission had its genesis in broad public concerns, which were adopted by the government that the two bulk fuel suppliers in the Cayman Islands have not been transparent about their prices and that consumers are getting a bad deal. Now, the idea has broadened to create a new regulatory and competitive regime for all local utilities providers.

Planning, Lands, Agriculture, Housing and Infrastructure Minister Kurt Tibbetts, who has responsibility for all the utilities, presented three other bills alongside the Utilities Regulation and Competition Bill, which will begin the process. He stated that several more pieces of legislation regarding the water sector would be brought in January 2017.

Cayman on top of Offshore Merger deals again

Friday, October 21st, 2016

According to a report by a firm of international lawyers, Appleby, one third of all merger and acquisition deals in the offshore world in the first half of the year 2016 took place in the Cayman Islands.

Cayman retained its standing as the primary target of offshore transactions accounting for 40% of the value of that business. This was released by Appleby in its latest edition of Offshore-i, a report that analyses data on the activity in offshore financial centres.

While figures for the 1st 6 months of 2016 were down generally on what the lawyers said were “record-setting” figures in 2015 and both the number and value of offshore M&A deals fell, the Cayman Islands held on to the lion’s share of the deal volume and value.

Also, it was stated that the Cayman Islands was also home to 4 of the 10 biggest deals between the beginning of January and the end of June, including 3 in the technology sector, which enjoyed a particularly robust start to the year.

In the 1st 6 months of the year, the report claims, Cayman-incorporated companies were the target in 459 transactions worth a combined USD 41 billion. The value represented more than twice the amount of the next closest jurisdiction, the British Virgin Islands, while Hong Kong was second to Cayman in terms of deal volume with 263 transactions.

The largest deal targeting a Cayman company was the USD 4.5 billion investment in Cayman-incorporated software publisher Xiaoju Kuaizhi by a consortium including China Merchants Bank and other investors. Other significant technology deals in Cayman involved a USD 2 billion funding round for Cayman-incorporated Uber China and a USD 2 billion share buyback by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

While the 1st 6 months of the year 2016 saw a slowdown in completed IPOs across jurisdictions, a more positive story emerges when looking at future IPOs announced during this time period, the heavy majority of which involved a Cayman-registered company. Cayman was responsible for 102 of the 115 announced IPOs.

Despite the challenges faced by many offshore jurisdictions in the world at present, the offshore region is still ranked 6th in the world by deal volume and 4th for value activity. As the lawyers report stated, average deal size remains strong, and continuing from 2015, offshore still has the highest average deal size of any region worldwide.

Lawyers’ legislation delayed as small firms need time

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

The minister of financial services has postponed the debate on the still controversial Legal Practitioners bill until the next meeting of the Legislative Assembly. This was because of a request by some small firms and sole practitioners as they want more time to submit suggestions that specifically impact their sector.

Wayne Panton was hoping to steer the legislation through during this current meeting after 15 years of wrangling. So, he said it was a risk to delay passage when the jurisdiction is to face the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) review in 2017. However, he noted that if a short delay improves matters, he believed it was a risk worth taking to balance the interests of sole practitioners and the need for the law now.