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BFIC’s holdings fall by $12.3m

The value of investments held by Bermuda First Investment Company (BFIC) has plunged by $12.3 million.

And revenue at the company — which holds shares in communications firm KeyTech and Ascendant, which owns power firm Belco, fell by $1.3 million to $300,000 for the six months to the end of last year compared to the same period in 2013.

Figures for 2013 showed an investment portfolio worth nearly $40 million for the six months period to December 2013.

But the figures for the same period last year recorded investments worth around $27.6 million.

BFIC chairman Michael Collier said: “We continue to see the value of our assets remain depressed due to the challenging Bermuda economy.”

But Mr Collier predicted that better times were ahead for the firm, which invests in several Bermuda Stock Exchange-listed companies.

These include a stake in insurance firm Argus Group and smaller holdings in Butterfield Bank, West Hamilton Holdings, Bermuda Aviation Services and Watlington Waterworks.

Mr Collier said: “However, we maintain the opinion that our core investments, KeyTech and Ascendant, have a number of exciting opportunities ahead of them and remain undervalued and well-positioned for future growth.”

Information on The Royal Gazette/BSX shows that shares in Ascendant on Monday stood at $6 compared to a 52-week high of $10, while KeyTech's year peak was $5.40 compared to $3.75 on Monday.

Shares in the Argus Group hit a year high of $4.83 and stood on Monday at $3.99.

But BFIC director Alasdair Younie said he was confident the major investments would bounce back in time — and that the America's Cup would help boost the market.

Mr Younie added: “We are long-term holders — we're not here to flip. We fully believe the investments remain undervalued and in the long term should provide good value.”

Asked if the Island's ailing economy had hit bottom, Mr Younie said: “I don't know is the honest answer.

“You probably only know when you've hit the bottom when you look back with hindsight. It's a very brave man to say you've hit the bottom. Is the worst behind Bermuda? Probably, but do I think we will have a speedy recovery? No. It will be a long, slow process, would be my guess.”

Mr Younie said that both Ascendant and KeyTech were likely to see benefits from the America's Cup.

He added: “The benefits will be something we will be able to see over a period of time.”

And he said that BFIC shareholders were “fully aware” of the Island's economic problems and their impact on investments.

Mr Younie added: “Hopefully, the management teams will be able to manage these challenges and put their companies on a sound footing going forward.”

Alasdair Younie

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Published March 11, 2015 at 9:00 am (Updated March 10, 2015 at 9:21 pm)

BFIC’s holdings fall by $12.3m

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