13 March 2017










A Firstline Securities Limited Blog by: Mike


Standard & Poor’s (S&P Global Ratings) recently-issued rating actions with regard to Barbados has pushed this country one step further down the ratings ladder.

The rating actions issued by S&P Global Ratings were as follows:

  • The long-term foreign and local currency sovereign rating was lowered from “B-” to “CCC+” and the overall outlook was characterised as “negative.”
  • The short-term ratings were lowered from “B” to “C”.
  • The transfer and convertibility assessment for Barbados was lowered from “B-” to “CCC+”.

Read more…

A Thousand Tiny Sighs of Relief in Champs Fleurs

22 February 2017

 In this blog entry we look at Krafts proposed acquisition of Unilever through the second largest takeover in history. The offer – which came and went over the weekend before we even had a time to blink – would almost certainly have caused some discomfort for senior executives and employees at Unilevers subsidiary in Champs Fleurs. With a weakened pound UK companies may look increasingly attractive for overseas predators prepared to take on the risk of a post BREXIT UK.

A Firstline Securities Ltd. Blog by: Mike 

Now you see us, now you don’t

On February 17th 2017, it was announced that Kraft Heinz Co had made a US$143 billion offer to take over the Anglo-Dutch multinational Unilever Plc, a significantly larger competitor with 126,000 more employees and an annual revenue US$24 billion higher than Kraft Heinz.

For each existing Unilever share, Kraft Heinz offered $US30.23 in cash and 0.222 shares in a new holding company, representing an 18% premium over Unilever’s closing stock price last Thursday.

The subsequent news that the US food company Kraft Heinz Co was withdrawing its proposal on Sunday will almost certainly be welcome news for Unilever’s local subsidiary Unilever Caribbean Limited.

The offer has come and gone before many even had a chance to see it.

Read more…

Brexit Watch – from the “European” Perspective

3 October 2016


Brexit Watch – from the “European” Perspective


Britain in the eyes of a Frenchman

You don’t have to be a Rocket Scientist to identify that the English are different.

As an Englishman I am the first to admit it. We simply don’t walk, talk, interact, consume, love, hate, or think like “Europeans”.

As a nation, our focus and our heart is not and has never been “European”. Historically our power and influence in the world was not made, or for that matter maintained in Europe, but derived from pillage, plunder, colonialism, and a Naval force that was second to none. Many things have changed especially in the last 50 years – we no longer have an Empire, we have tempered (somewhat) our tendency to pillage and plunder, and we no longer dominate the seas. All that has remained consistent is that we are still not in any sense of the word “European”.

It is fair to say that the rest of Europe don’t always get this. Many look at the English with bemusement and a wry shake of the head. One European who did “get” the English was the French President Charles De Gaulle.

In 1963 De Gaulle commented (at the time he was exercising France’s veto effectively rejecting the UK’s application to join the European Economic Community):

“England in effect is insular. She is maritime. She is linked through he interactions, her market and her supply lines to the most diverse and often the most distant countries; she has, in all her doings, very marked and very original habits and traditions.”

In other words, it isn’t just the English Channel that separates the United Kingdom from the rest of mainland Europe. In the simplest of terms British DNA has never been “European”. Read more…

Brexit, Fine Wine, Garlic, Olive Oil, and a big bunch of Bananas

2 August 2016

The United Kingdom’s main dilemma

As a result of the decision to leave the European Union (EU) the United Kingdom (UK) faces a troubling dilemma in respect of its food supply.

Food prices are almost certain to rise as a result of the falling value of the pound against other currencies, and because of one crucial fact – Britain imports over 50% of the food it eats on an annual basis.

Where does the UK get its imported food from?     

In 2015, twenty-seven percent of all food eaten in the UK was imported from the EU. This compares with just four percent from the United States, and four percent from the African continent.

When it comes to fruit and vegetables the UK was heavily dependent on the EU for over 40% of the fresh produce that it consumed in 2015. A significant concern is that the UK is simply not geared to grow more domestically to bridge the gap, with only a hundred and sixty-four thousand hectares out of 4.7 million hectares of crop growing land being allocated to horticulture.

To survive the UK will need to find new sources of food or strike deals with its former partners in the EU. One thing is almost certain – when the EU subsidies and tariff exemptions are removed as a result of Brexit, the odds are that imported food is going to be much more expensive and more will come from sources external to the EU.   Read more…

Brexit and the Caribbean

26 July 2016


The United Kingdom (UK) joined what was referred to as the European Economic Community (EEC) on the 1st January 1973. Her membership of the EEC – which later morphed into the European Union (EU) – has never been a “full membership” with the UK opting to remain outside the Euro allowing it to retain the pound as its currency and maintain control over its own monetary policy.

On the 23rd June 2016 the UK voted by a margin of 52% to 48% to leave the EU. The process of leaving – should it in fact happen – will take at least two years, and the Caribbean as a region will need to plan for the consequences.

brexit1 Read more…

The BREXIT Opera – it’s never over until the Fat Lady has sung…

27 June 2016

Brexit in a nutshell

Last Thursday Britain – or at least the majority of it – voted to leave the European Union and pursue what has widely been referred to in media as “BREXIT”.

The decision to leave surprised many, including many of the leaders of the “Leave” Team, and the consequences of exiting are still very unclear. We still don’t know what “BREXIT” will mean for the future of Britain’s economy, its future policy direction, and its relations with the rest of Europe.

Britain hasn’t pulled the Trigger Yet

Because Britain hasn’t invoked the terms of Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, the formal and irreversible decision to leave the European Union hasn’t actually been taken. In fact, there are scenarios in play that could actually see Britain stay in the European Union.

The UK hasn’t pulled the trigger, but a round is certainly in the chamber.

First one must recognise that the vote on Thursday is not legally binding and does not immediately trigger Britain’s exit from the European Union.

The Prime Minister (currently David Cameron, who has resigned, but intends to remain in Office until October) or his successor (likely to be Boris Johnson) could decide to ignore the result of the referendum. That seems to be an unlikely scenario. However, the possibility exists that between now and October future events will overtake the decision taken in the referendum.

To understand further one has to understand a little about Article 50.


Read more…


24 June 2016

From Mike, our Resident Brit
160624 Going It Alone


Hi Everyone,

You will be waking to the news that the UK has voted 52-48% to leave the E.U. The Prime Minister has announced that he will resign and a replacement will be in place by October.

Read more…