The M&A Dating Game VIII: Ahoy Matey!
This is the eighth article in a series about countries that have not had an announced M&A event in the past 20 years. So, here are some M&A opportunities.
10 April 2015
This is the eighth article in a series about countries that have not had an announced M&A event in the past 20 years.
In my opinion, there’s so much that these countries have to offer that it’s a shame that they’re being left out. Therefore, I have decided to take it upon myself to drum up some business for them.
Last time I left you with this hint: “Let’s warm up again. Part of the Pirates of the Caribbean movie was filmed on this Caribbean island which is named after a saint and still has Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state.”
I’m sure all those Disney fans out there already got this, but for those of us who lean more towards a Tarantino film, I’m talking about Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, or just good old St. Vincent.
Image Source: DS World’s Lands
This place looks awesome. I can totally see why Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed here — just look at that cove!
Prior to looking for an M&A opportunity, here are some local facts to consider:
- Geography: Less than 250 miles off the Venezuelan coast and twice the size of Washington DC, St. Vincent and the Grenadines is composed of 16 islands — many of which are in the hurricane belt. St. Vincent itself has an active volcano on it called La Soufriere (which sounds a lot like “The Suffering” to me — a terrifying name for a volcano)
- Government: St Vincent has been independent since late 1979, but it is still a British commonwealth and its head of state is Queen Elizabeth II
- GDP (PPP): The GDP of St. Vincent is just over $1.3Bn. In terms of world rankings, that makes it 199 out of 226
The Economy and M&A Opportunities
In a nutshell, St. Vincent’s economy comes down to three main industries: Tourism, Agriculture, and Construction. And with an unemployment rate of over 18%, there are a lot of people ready to work, and some prospects for growth. Let’s break down the industries a bit further.
- Agriculture: Natural disasters are a norm here, considering hurricanes and other storms. They’re so bad, that crops were almost wiped out three times between 1994 and 2002. Also, the volcano, La Soufriere, is still active and overdue for an eruption, so in my opinion there’s simply too much risk that you can’t mitigate in this sector. I wouldn’t even consider looking at this as a serious investment.
- Tourism: St. Vincent is currently building its first “major” airport, which would allow people to bypass flights with stops in the surrounding islands. The airport should be built in mid-2015. There is also a pretty healthy inflow of tourists coming in on their yachts, and the average vacation stay is around 12 days. This is long. The St. Vincent government has identified this opportunity and is even offering financial incentives for hotel developers. And let’s not forget, the other big draw, legalized gambling. Tropical Las Vegas, anyone?
- Construction: Don’t want to buy someone else’s hotel or casino? How about you build your own? Or maybe a marina? Or basically build anything that could cater to tourists. Off the top of my head, construction may be the only industry that benefits from natural disasters. For instance, build a better sea wall or a stronger house to potentially stand up to hurricanes, and you’re in business.
So in summary, build a better hotel (and own it), and they will come.
Now, for the next edition’s hint:
This place is the only remaining part of the former “New France”. It has a big yellow ship on its flag along with some lions.
Until next time …
Ronen is a Senior Associate in Strategy and Product Marketing at Intralinks where he helps shape the direction and marketing of Intralinks Dealspace and DealNexus for the M&A community. Prior to joining Intralinks, Ronen was a management and strategy consultant for several years. Ronen has also worked in the financial sector, specifically in the venture capital and private equity fields. He graduated from New York University’s Stern School of Business with a dual degree in Economics and International Business, with a specialization in Entrepreneurship.