OTEC To Unleash First IPO

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After signing BEC and Baha Mar to agreements, renewable energy company seeks capital after 10 Caribbean nations request proposals

Exploding interest in The Bahamas and the Caribbean at large has sparked the Ocean Thermal Energy Corporation (OTEC) to announce it will be rolling out its first ever initial public offering (IPO) in the new year.

Fresh off the Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum (CREF) in Barbados, Jeremy Feakins, the Chairman and CEO of OTEC, said the response by political leaders there was “unbelievable”, as no less than 10 countries requested detailed proposals for implementing large-scale alternative energy solutions for the general population.

The OTEC chief believes the recent Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) - a world first - has served as a catalyst for other countries to get on board.

“It was unbelievable and these are very exciting times,” he told Guardian Business.

“It’s like a snowball. It tumbles down and picks up more snow as it goes - and we have only scratched the surface. Caribbean nations do not want to be held hostage by foreign oil. On the back of what we have learnt in the Caribbean, we have decided to move forward with a public listing next year.”

The IPO - expected within the first half of 2012 - is intended to raise enough money whereby OTEC owns 51 percent of each project.

Feakins said the company is still deciding how much the IPO will be worth.

However, considering the two OTEC!plants currently being designed and planned for The Bahamas will likely be more than $100 million, Feakins anticipated a great deal of capital will be sought.

And now, as a number of Caribbean countries - including Jamaica, Barbados, the Cayman Islands, the Dominican Republic and Trinidad and Tobago - have entered negotiations to bring the same technology to their shores, he believes “we have work cut out for us”.

“You can be environmentally friendly and save money - that is the message spreading, I think,” he added. “It is very gratifying to help provide a solution, although we have our work cut out for us.”

In August, the MoU was signed between BEC and OTEC, which paved the way for the construction of two ocean thermal power plants.

OTEC will incur the full cost of building and maintaining the facilities, while BEC plans to purchase the renewable energy from the company for use among the general public.

Meanwhile, Baha Mar, the mammoth $2.6 billion venture emerging in Cable Beach, has announced a partnership with OTEC whereby the company provides air conditioning for the sprawling resort.

Baha Mar will become the second resort in the world to power it’s air conditioning through this renewable energy method - with a possible savings of up to 90 percent.

The Bahamas Hotel Association (BHA) has since expressed interest as well, with Feakins reporting that the company has sent information to interested parties.

“They asked us for information and we provided it,” he explained. “We are always looking at hotels that want to switch from excessive amounts of fossil fuels to something that is more friendly.”

The Nassau Guardian
Published: Oct 20, 2011