NASSAU, Bahamas (CMC) — The Jamaica-based private equity firm FirstRock Private Equity Limited has acquired a 26 per cent stake in the local hand-made soap and candle company, My Ocean, under a deal brokered by the Bahamas-based company Simplified Lending.
“The minority equity position by a regional player in The Bahamas is evidence of the critical nature of access to capital. My Ocean, with its beautifully hand-crafted rolled soaps that remind you of the sea, is one of so many companies that have a great product, good management and perseverance,” said Simplified Lending chief executive officer Robert Pantry.
“This deal was consecrated following many discussions demonstrating the viability of the Bahamian visitor market even at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.
According to a statement issued here regarding the deal, which has already been approved by the local regulators, it represents “a first for the funding leader and an innovative capital raiser for a local manufacturer-retailer with a growing footprint”.
My Ocean founder Tanya Klonaris was quoted in the statement as saying that FirstRock’s capital injection will allow for the local company to grow into a premier exporter of hand-made Bahamian goods.
It will also allow the company to develop a new 11,000 square-foot headquarters and expand its retail locations beyond the current Lynden Pindling International Airport, Atlantis and Baha Mar stores.
“Well beyond just a capital injection, this investor partnership comes with an expertise and dedication to propel My Ocean into an internationally recognised brand,” said Klonaris, who intends to add eight full-time staff, with a view to having 42 employees within two years.
“The reimagining of My Ocean includes high-tech system automation and even industrial machinery… Our ‘hand-made in The Bahamas’ international branding will also be closely associated with our new social media marketing, intent on illuminating Bahamian culture and with the personnel being afforded opportunities for career advancements in a training-centric culture.”
FirstRock managing director Chris Yeung said My Ocean is one of the most recognised brands in The Bahamas and that “the interest in My Ocean is in line with the company’s growth strategy”.
“This acquisition is aligned with our strategy to be one of the leading private equity partners for small and medium-sized enterprises in the region.”
Pantry said that the local company has been doing extremely well and was looking forward to its best year ever when the coronavirus pandemic hit, shutting down tourism and severely impacting businesses.