Cigna, investor of US $30 million in St Maarten Airport bonds

What would you do if you had invested millions of dollars in an entity you were not quite familiar with? Go take a look at where you have put your money, right?

That is precisely what Cigna Corporation, which invested US$30 million in PJIAE bonds, did when one of its executives visited St Maarten last week.

At a lunch meeting with Prime Minister Sarah Wescott-Williams on Thursday, Leonard Mazlich, managing director, Cigna Investment Management Fixed Income Securities, a division of Cigna Corporation, said he was impressed with the airport, and noted in particular, the smooth transfer from the aircraft, through Immigration and Baggage Claim.

(L-R): Mirto Breell, Director Technical Division; Mark Kortenoever, Lexwell; Leonard Mazlich, Cigna; Hon. Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams; Regina LaBega, Managing Director, PJIAE; Patrick Cann, Nomura; Robert Brown, Special Projects Coordinator; Larry Donker, Director Operational Division; Raul van Heyningen, Director Air Traffic Services; Andre Wright, Standard International Group. (PJIAE photo)

(L-R): Mirto Breell, Director Technical Division; Mark Kortenoever, Lexwell; Leonard Mazlich, Cigna; Hon. Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams; Regina LaBega, Managing Director, PJIAE; Patrick Cann, Nomura; Robert Brown, Special Projects Coordinator; Larry Donker, Director Operational Division; Raul van Heyningen, Director Air Traffic Services; Andre Wright, Standard International Group. (PJIAE photo)

Mazlich, who was accompanied on the visit by Patrick Cann, Vice President of Nomura Securities International Inc., underwriters of the US$132 million bond, stressed the importance of the transaction and revealed that Cigna was encouraged to invest in the bond as a result of the Moody’s rating of Baa2 the airport had recently been granted.

A typical investment for Cigna, according to Mazlich, ranges between US$20 million and US$40 million, and its investment in the PJIAE bonds falls within this bracket. Cigna has considerable experience in the Caribbean, having invested in islands such as The Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Bermuda, and Aruba.

Prime Minister Wescott-Williams explained the differences in the administrations of the two halves of the island to the two visiting international financiers, and said the attainment of St. Maarten’s new constitutional status on October 10, 2010, known as “10-10-10,” offered new opportunities.

The Prime Minister spoke about the St. Maarten’s 2013 budget, which is now being finalized, and said it included new developments for St. Maarten.

Nomura’s Patrick Cann said his company was happy to have underwritten the PJIAE bond issue, which was over-subscribed almost immediately. He expressed confidence in the Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) and praised its management for their vision and leadership.

Both Mazlich and Cann had earlier been given a guided tour of the island as well as of the airport facilities. They said they were very impressed by what they saw.

Cigna is a global health insurance company, with about 22 billion US dollars in revenue, employing 31,000 people worldwide and active in 30 countries around the globe. It is one of the largest health service companies in the US, with headquarters in Bloomingfield, Connecticut. Cigna is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE:CI) and is a component of the S&P 500 stock index.

On the other hand, Nomura is a Tokyo-based financial services group and global investment bank with regional headquarters in Hong Kong, London, and New York with operations in 18 stock exchanges all over the world and has held the number one position on the London Stock Exchange since 2007.

According to Regina LaBega, managing director of the airport operating company (PJIAE), the bond issue would allow the Princess Juliana International Airport to execute its Capital Improvement Program, which includes the resurfacing of the runway, construction of taxi-ways; expansion of the aprons to provide additional aircraft parking, especially during peak traffic periods; and the relocation of various facilities to improve efficiency and provide for future growth.

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