Kingston, Jamaica – After an eighteen month negotiation period, Supreme Ventures Limited finally inked the deal on the Caymanas divestment on Friday, February 10, 2017. The company submitted its bid in September 2015, with the government giving SVL the preferred bidder nod in March of 2016. Supreme Ventures’ tenure as the new operators of the entity begins on March 7, under the name Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited, (SVREL).
“I want to thank the members of the negotiating team for making today possible,” said SVL Chairman Paul Hoo in his remarks at the signing, held at the Ministry of Finance. He continued, “When the opportunity presented itself, it was natural for us to expand our portfolio into racing. We feel there are things that we bring to the table such as our distribution network, management and marketing expertise which has allowed us to build out a successful business.”
It was a point underscored by Finance Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw, who called the divestment a ‘historic event’, lauding the work of the negotiating team, and acknowledging the work of the late Brian George, former SVL President and CEO, who was a critical part of the team up to the time of his passing in October of 2016.
“SVL took the concept of ‘Drop Pan’ and turned it into a major industry which is now a major revenue earner. As a government we realise you’re taking a major risk, but we know if anyone can do it, Supreme Ventures can.” He pledged his support to SVL and SVREL. “As a government, we stand ready to support as we know this is a significant investment. Know that we have a brighter day coming for Caymanas,” he added.
In her remarks, State Minister in the Finance Ministry, Hon Fayval Williams, spoke to the importance of horse racing in Jamaica. She highlighted the potential for employment and investment, as well as significant revenue earning that SVREL could generate. Chairman of Caymanas Track, Danville Walker opined that he couldn’t think of a better entity to which the track could be divested. He added that while the revenue generating aspect of SVREL’s operations are critical, “the growth and development of racing is equally important. I am looking forward to seeing what the private sector brings to that growth and development of the Jamaican Racing Sector.”
Minister Shaw disclosed that he had mandated the team at CTL to ensure that the transition process between CTL and SVREL is smooth and seamless, with everything being done “in order, with discipline and with effective management.” SVREL and CTL, he noted, would be beginning immediately, a shadow programme, to ensure that this is so. There will be no disruption in race days.
According to SVL Chairman, Paul Hoo, “In recognizing our responsibility to our shareholders, the process during the negotiations had been very intense and arduous in ensuring that we dotted all I’s and crossed all T’s, to give us the best opportunity to make this venture a successful one. The Chairman advised that meetings are to be scheduled with the stakeholders shortly, to get their feedback and tap into their existing knowledge moving forward on a collaborative basis. “The success of the industry necessitates a collaborative approach and we look forward to working with all stakeholders to make the new entity a success.” he said.