The size and scale of deals facilitated by the British Virgin Islands’ international business and financial centre has increased both in value and quality as the BVI reports its strongest incorporation numbers in three years.
The strength of this BVI sector is exemplified by recent activity, such as the counsel provided by BVI-based law firm Ogier on a US$350 million biopharmaceutical merger.
The quality of business on-island is also increasing as new technologies come to the fore. Appleby, another BVI-based law firm, recently acted as advisers on a private token sale, raising approximately US$1 billion in just 10 days.
Earlier this year Harneys, the BVI-based firm, represented an IT services provider on a US$2 billion merger acquisition. This transaction set a new BVI record for the largest ever takeover of a publicly-listed BVI company by transaction value.
Appleby also recently reported that the total value of merger and acquisitions (M&A) in the BVI rose by 25% in 2018. The law firm found that 504 transactions worth US$46.8 billion took place in 2018, up from US$37.8bn in 2017. The report also indicates 57 of the 2018 deals exceeded US$1 billion, including nine “megadeals” exceeding $5 billion, leading to a “significant” rise in the total value of deals.
This increase in quality on-island business is reflected in the latest quarterly figures from the BVI Financial Services Commission (FSC). It found that nearly 1,000 Limited Partnerships (940) were registered on-island in 2018, following the new Limited Partnership Act enacted in December 2017 to meet modern businesses’ commercial requirements and to reflect the flexibility and simplicity of BVI’s popular incorporation rules.
According to the Q4 2018 FSC quarterly statistical bulletin, company incorporations grew 4.4% year-on-year (8,916 vs. 8,538 in Q4 2017), while quarterly figures fell by 6.9% after a particularly strong Q3 2019 (8,916 vs. 9,575).
The strong year for registrations comes as the BVI enjoyed its strongest year for overall new incorporations in three years. The BVI recorded a total of 37,415 incorporations in 2018, up 15% on 2017’s incorporations (32,493) and up 18% on 2016 (31,769).
Elise Donovan, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of BVI Finance, said: “We are delighted to see that 2018 was a strong year for incorporations as more businesses and individuals chose to take advantage of the strategic and administrative benefits that our global financial centre offers. The noted increase in the quality business happening on-island is a reflection of the type of businesses and professionals making the BVI stronger.
“The BVI continues to be a leader for M&A, public listings and innovative areas like initial coin offerings. More than 400,000 organisations recognise that our strong legal system, business-friendly laws and world-class corporate services sector means we are an indispensable hub for global trade.”
Statistical Bulletins for 2018 can be viewed on the BVI Financial Services Commission website.