Guernsey Press

A share in Sark could be yours for just £10

‘SHARES’ in Sark could be on sale by next year, with plans unveiled to float a company that hopes to buy up to 40% of property in the island.

A public flotation of the Sark Property Company could see free shares for residents and others investing as little as £10 in the island. (32568135)

This is the next step being taken by Sark-based entrepreneur Swen Lorenz and the island’s Seigneur, Christopher Beaumont, both directors of the Sark Property Company.

They hope to raise £100m. by listing their fledgling company on UK and Guernsey-based stock exchanges.

Mr Lorenz said he already had substantial investors ready to put their cash into Europe’s smallest democracy.

‘Right now, the only investor who’s officially signed up is my company, but what we do have is a whole number of seriously interested investors, quasi signed up, who say, if you want to do a transaction of up to £100m. we are in.’

If the company goes down the IPO route, individual shares could cost around £10, with the possibility of free shares to Sark residents.

‘We have a tagline of democratising investment in Sark, so that it’s not just open to rich people. Perhaps we could call it a “people’s company”.’

Derelict houses on the island could be bought and renovated under the Sark Property Company’s plans. (Picture by Andy Brown, 32563285)

Mr Beaumont said he understood scepticism on the island but wanted the population of Sark to see this as an opportunity.

‘There seems to be a feeling on Sark that Barclays version two is about to happen, and that didn’t go well and we don’t want to do the same again,’ he said.

‘People think it’s a whole pile of rich people coming in to take our livelihoods and way of life away, but it’s the Sark way of life that makes the whole thing attractive. You can’t afford to muck around with that, because it seems if you strip that away, nobody wants to invest.’

Mr Beaumont said the company spending £50,000 to bring in the Prince’s Foundation to speak to residents and write a report on the potential future of the island was evidence of this approach.

‘Whereas the Barclays came along with their manifesto and said: “This is what we’re going to do for you”. We’ve come in and said: “What would you like us to do for you?”

‘Sark has a once-in-a-generation chance. If it doesn’t happen now, there is a serious risk of it withering and dying.’