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UCC finalises IPO date, appoints CEO for real estate arm

Published:Wednesday | January 19, 2022 | 12:08 AM
Nancy Sears, newly appointed CEO of UCC Real Estate Investment & Development.
Nancy Sears, newly appointed CEO of UCC Real Estate Investment & Development.
Dr Winston Adams, chairman of UCC Group.
Dr Winston Adams, chairman of UCC Group.

UCC Group of Companies has engaged the services of brokerage house Mayberry Investments Limited to arrange the market float of two real estate companies in its portfolio at mid-year, one of which holds its RE/MAX franchise operations.

The initial public offering of shares in Marquis Holdings Limited and UCC Real Estate Investment & Development, or UCC REID, are scheduled for June and July respectively, according to UCC Group Chairman Dr Winston Adams.

However, Mayberry was not as definitive about the timeline.

“It is our intention to try to have those listing completed sometime this year. We are at the early stages in the regulatory process, but there is no reason why we should not be able to complete this process within the next nine months,” said Mayberry Investments Vice-President Dan Theoc.

It’s expected that the name of Marquis Holdings, which holds the operations of RE/MAX Jamaica and RE/MAX Elite, will change prior to the market float.

In the meantime, Adams has announced the appointment of Canadian Nancy Sears as the CEO for RE/MAX Elite and UCC REID, effective January 17.

The new CEO is expected to be in Jamaica by February 21. She reportedly has 37 years of experience in the real estate industry, nine of which she spent as executive director of business growth and development for RE/MAX Integra, the largest independent franchise of the RE/MAX brand, representing 12,000 agents in Canada alone.

She was also the director of business development for Prudential First Realty in Canada, where she managed five locations and 157 agents.

At UCC, Sears is expected to prioritise earnings growth at RE/MAX Elite, recruitment of new talent and the development of a new marketing strategy targeted at international residents looking to purchase luxury properties in Jamaican and throughout the Caribbean. She will also be seeking out real estate agencies to acquire in and outside Jamaica.

RE/MAX Elite and RE/MAX Jamaica were added to the portfolio of UCC REID, the real estate and property arm of the UCC Group, following their acquisition on October 15, 2021. The deal included the business, expertise and intellectual properties of RE/MAX Elite, a realty company that has been operating in Jamaica for 12 years, and three commercial real estate properties in Kingston and Montego Bay held under RE/MAX Elite.

The acquisitions fitted UCC Group’s plan to diversify its operations, including the development of a university town with facilities for technical and vocational training for some 5,000 global students; and the sale and leasing of residential and commercial properties in Jamaica. The company’s core business is the operation of a private univercity, based in New Kingston.

Sears will have direct control of RE/MAX Elite, which plans to expand its services to four Caribbean countries, including Barbados and the Dominican Republic, and will indirectly oversee RE/MAX Jamaica as CEO of UCC REID.

“There have been a lot of high-level meetings on how we present the RE/MAX brand in Jamaica and I will be focusing on unique value propositions that we can bring to the market,” Sears told the Financial Gleaner.

The real estate IPO proceeds will support the UCC Group’s plan to develop a university town at a location to be determined at the western end of Jamaica. Capital raised from the Marquis Holdings offering will also go towards expanding the services of RE/MAX Elite into the targeted Caribbean markets.