CIBC’s Caribbean corporate and investment banking chief is eyeing “a lot of opportunities” for growth in the Bahamas, having helped place over $100 million in financing over the past year.
Pim Van Der Burg told Tribune Business in a recent interview that the Bahamas was “a very important business” for CIBC FirstCaribbean, ranking alongside Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago as its top three regional markets.
He added that the institution, which has already been “very active” in financing key industries in the Bahamas, aimed to become the top bank in this nation for corporate clients.
“The Bahamas, given the size of the group, is a very important business for us,” Mr Van Der Burg said. “We certainly have high expectations of the business.
“What I can tell you is that the Bahamas is in the top three countries in the region. It’s a very substantial part, and very important market for us at CIBC for sure.
“My experience from visiting the last week is that there’s a lot of opportunity, a lot of development, I think, if we as a bank can deliver good service. We are working hard to make sure we’re the best bank in the Bahamas for corporate clients.”
CIBC FirstCaribbean has become noticeably more active in the Bahamian capital markets, and in structuring and funding major debt transactions. Desmond Bannister, minister of works, recently confirmed it was working with another investment bank to raise $135 million for cash-strapped utility, Bahamas Power & Light (BPL).
While declining to name specific transactions, Mr Van Der Burg told Tribune Business that the financing raised by CIBC FirstCaribbean’s corporate and investment banking team in the Bahamas over the past year would be “above $100 million for sure”.
“We have been very active in the Bahamas in the utility space, in the oil and gas sector, and the airline industry,” he said. “Without mentioning names, there are several large clients we’ve been involved with within the last 12 months.
“We have had substantial growth, and also have a line of transactions we’re working on. We have a substantial pipeline of transactions we are working on.”
CIBC FirstCaribbean’s corporate and investment banking clients number 10,000, serviced across the region by a 200-strong team – of whom around 30 are based in the Bahamas.
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