Saint Lucia one of the most picturesque Caribbean destinations was recently at the Caribbean Investment Summit in London promoting its investment opportunities. The 238 square mile island with beautiful beaches, lush rainforest and the iconic Piton Mountains that have UNESCO World Heritage Status had secured approximately US$124.5 Million in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for the calendar year 2014. This represented a 135% increase from the US$54.2 Million achieved in 2013. The 2014 figure was for 20 different projects with 75% tourism related, 15% soft infrastructure (health and education) and 10% other services.
McHale Andrew, Chief Executive Officer, Invest Saint Lucia and current President of the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (CAIPA) shared at the Caribbean Investment Summit the top 5 reasons Saint Lucia was attractive to investors. These include:
1. Strategic location and ease of access from North America and Europe.
2. Access to regional and international markets including the Caricom Single Marketing & Economy (CSME), World Trade Organization (WTO) and EU-Caribbean Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).
3. Stable and pro-business environment; Saint Lucia was ranked number one in the English-speaking Caribbean in the World Bank’s Doing Business Reports 2007-2014. Saint Lucia was also ranked number one in the Caribbean by the Doing Business Report 2014 for:
• The number of procedures for starting a business;
• Obtaining approval for construction permits;
• The time it takes to register a property; and
• Ease of paying taxes.
4. Freedom to repatriate profits and no foreign exchange controls.
5. Stable monetary and financial system, as a leading member of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union.
One example of a successful Foreign Direct Investment project recently completed in Saint Lucia is Dive Saint Lucia. Located at Rodney Bay, Gros Islet, Dive Saint Lucia investment secured US$6 Million in Foreign Direct Investment and was built with the aim of becoming the premier scuba diving center in the Eastern Caribbean. Completed November 2014, Dive Saint Lucia is a PADI 5-Star Instructor Development Center offering competitively priced PADI courses from beginner to instructor grades, together with guided dives at Saint Lucia’s premium marine sites.
With the success of projects like Dive Saint Lucia, Invest Saint Lucia is currently pushing forward with a campaign to attract more investors to the island. Three projects that Saint Lucia is looking to secure Foreign Direct Investment for include: Jade Sea – US$74 million, Vieux Fort Marina Development – US$20 million (for Mariana Docks, Breakwaters & Infrastructure (excluding Shipyard) and an ICT Center – investment subject to negotiation. Below you will find further details on these projects.
Project Location: Soufriere, Saint Lucia
Project Description: Jade Sea is being developed by Nick Troubetzkoy, the architect and owner of the highly rated and luxurious Jade Mountain and Anse Chastanet Resorts. The plan is for Jade Sea to include “48 stunning open-air sanctuaries in front of one of the world’s most amazing natural settings, the World Heritage Site of Petit and Gros Piton in Soufriere, Saint Lucia. The Jade Sea Sanctuaries will offer the ultimate sensual and intellectual gateway for romantics of all ages, as well as benefits of ownership and exclusive access to all the services, privileges, and amenities of the world renowned Jade Mountain and Anse Chastanet Resorts.”
Investment Required: US$74 Million. Particulars include:
• 48 units total, built in phases
• Phase: 12 units + central facilities = USD$ 26 Million
• Subsequent phases each of 12 units = USD$ 16 Million each phase
• Phase 1 payback period seven years
• Subsequent phases – payback period 4.5 years
Investment Type: The developers are seeking a capital partner to provide a Senior and/or Mezzanine Debt facility to support the construction of JADE SEA. Additionally, the developer is looking for a partner/investor to help finance the initial stages of the project.
VIEUX FORT MARINA DEVELOPMENT
Project Location: Vieux Fort, Saint Lucia
Project Description: The proposed Vieux Fort Marina Development site measures 23 acres (land for marina area inclusive of the queen’s chain) and forms part of a broader development plan for the southern region in Saint Lucia. The site is bordered to the north by the Hewanorra International Airport, to the south by the Caribbean Sea, to the west by the town of Vieux Fort and to the east by land owned by Invest Saint Lucia (ISL). The proposed site is well serviced by the West Coast highway at a distance of 4.4 km from the airport terminal and less than 2 km from the proposed private jet terminal. This marina/hotel development project encapsulates the following facilities:
• Berthing for 220 yachts, size range 10-190 meters LOA
• Electricity, water and fuel sales to marina customers and visiting vessels
• Onsite sewage pump-out and treatment
• A boatyard area of 350,000 square feet / 32,516 square meters providing storage for approximately 150 yachts
• A 250 room 5-star hotel with casino, adjacent beach and facilities
• Restaurant and Retail space, Customs, Immigration, Ports and Marine Police facilities
• A Freeport environment to facilitate trade
• Ferry reception facility
Investment Required: US$20 Million
Investment Type: The developer is seeking investment in the form of debt financing or equity participation. A preliminary cost estimate and ROI is projected as follows:
• Marina Docks, Breakwaters & Infrastructure Construction (Excluding Shipyard) – US$20 Million
• Potential Annual Gross Revenue – US$16,701,000 Million
• Annual Overhead Costs – US$1,141,300 Million
• Potential Annual Net Income (Before Tax) – US$6,410,000 Million
• Occupancy for 10% ROI – 39% High Season; 34% Low Season
Sector: Information & Communication Technology /Business Process Outsourcing
Project Location: Bois d’ Orange, Gros Islet, Saint Lucia
Project Description: Backed by the Government of Saint Lucia, an opportunity exists for a suitable investor to develop an ICT Business Center in the commercial hub of Gros Islet. The proposed Center is an ideal location for a host of ICT-focused businesses including call centers; Business and Knowledge Process Outsourcing (BPO/KPO); web development; mobile application development; image processing and software development. The site is located in Bois d’ Orange in the northernmost district of Gros Islet, approximately 2 miles from the main entertainment area of Rodney Bay and 5 miles from the capital, Castries. The property in question totals 5.21 acres or 21,099 square meters which comprise 17 separate, yet continuous parcels of land. The site features an unfinished office complex consisting of three incomplete structures. Construction of these buildings commenced in 1999/2000 and ceased in 2005 with partial construction to building one (60% complete) and buildings two and three (30% complete). The original development plan called for 182,175 square feet of commercial space and office space to be serviced by adequate parking in the basement and the front of the structure. This prime commercial real estate sits on a prominent site along the Castries/Gros Islet Highway.
Investment Type: The Government of Saint Lucia has expressed support to transform the property into a thriving business center in line with the surrounding area and welcomes savvy investors to invest in this property. Incentives are available for qualifying projects that enhance the socio-economic development of Saint Lucia. Some of the key aspects of the legislation include a period of exemption for corporate taxes; the ability to purchase duty-free materials and components to be used within the investment project, for example, construction related vehicles and equipment; furniture, etc.
For more information about these three investment opportunities as well as others in Saint Lucia, visit the website for Invest Saint Lucia.
Top photo: Aerial view of Siant Lucia with Piton Mountains off in the distance. Photo: © flickr/Jean-Marc Astesana.
Ursula Petula Barzey
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