Fortress Fund Managers Limited delivered another
sound performance in 2012 albeit somewhat lower
than the prior year. Lacklustre performances on
the Caribbean markets combined with tightened
economic circumstances for most investors have
resulted in there being only marginal growth in
funds under management. Our pensions business
however, continues to grow steadily and we have
further strengthened this department as we look for
opportunities to expand it even further.
The Fortress Caribbean Property Fund continues
to struggle in the environment of depressed real
estate prices and reduced demand. The Board
of that company is looking at ways of increasing
shareholder’s value as the current share price on the
Barbados Stock Exchange is significantly below the
company’s net asset value.
Signia Financial Group Inc. produced a slightly lower
profit than recorded in 2011. However, this was a
creditable performance in light of very subdued
economic conditions in Barbados. Increased write-
downs were required against vehicle inventory
as the company actively managed their portfolio
of repossessed and end-of-lease vehicles. Debt
provisioning for the year, although prudent, was
less than prior year.
New products and new opportunities are under
consideration and just after year end, in February
Signia opened its new Haggatt Hall branch to
better serve its customers.
DGM Bank & Trust recorded a modest improvement
in profitability following an eventful and challenging
year. Its founder and Chief Executive Officer, Mr.
Robert Reid passed away suddenly in February 2012.
His passing was a great loss to the company but the
strength of the team that he had built allowed the
business to continue without major interruption,
and a combination of internal appointments
and external recruitments have ensured that
this operation was back to a full management
complement in the second half of the year.
During the year, the company took the decision
to exit some lines of business but also expanded
through acquisition of portfolios, as well as entering
new business lines, in particular the management of
captive insurance companies.
Our Cave Shepherd Card business unit produced
an improved result on increased revenues. The
latter came about as a result of welcoming
nearly two thousand new card holders as well as
expanding our merchant base through the addition
of two excellent partners, Digicel and Automotive
Art. Increasing the merchant base will continue
in 2013 as we offer our card holders a wider range
of opportunities to use the Cave Shepherd Card.
At the same time we continue to maintain strong
management over our receivables portfolio, and
delinquency remains well controlled.
A decline in our share of Passenger Head Tax as
a result of reduced passenger numbers in 2012
resulted in a decline in profitability at Bridgetown
Cruise Terminal Inc. During the year it became
evident that this company would not play a major
role in the new pier development planned for
Bridgetown and so our focus shifted to formalising
an interim lease arrangement at the current facility
to cover the period between the end of its existing
lease in December 2013 and the construction and
commencement of operation at the new facility.
That interim arrangement is still to be finalized but
substantial progress has been made.
Events surrounding Almond Resorts Inc. caused us
to make a full provision against the shares which we
hold in this entity. The amount of this provision was
$615 thousand in 2012 on top of the $1.2 million
provided in 2011.