July 20, 2024
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Our view: Mild inflation report bolsters capital raising, Cousteau honored at gala

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For a region that’s heavily dependent on capital markets the October inflation report may represent a much-needed inflection point.

For stretched small businesses the prospect of declining interest rates will reduce costs of financing and ease pressure on cash flow.

For startups and early-stage companies that are hunkered down and obsessed with husbanding their venture capital by reducing burn rates, the prospect of a B, C or D round has suddenly come back on the table.

For later stage companies that are looking for an exit, the possibility of an initial public offering is now more than just a blip on the horizon. Investment banks will be leaner and more agile when it comes to reopening pipelines for deals.

For the many area companies that have been acquired by private equity firms, those firms will also want to look at IPOs as a way to unload losers or cash in on winners to regain liquidity.

Finally, for the banking sector, the rising stock market will provide a way to issue equity without substantial dilution and it will help with margins in two ways – paying less for deposits will help reduce costs and reduced interest pressure will help borrowers meet debt obligations without restructuring or write-offs.

There may not be a perfectly smooth path forward for businesses – the economy could soften considerably, consumers could get cold feet and if the Fed stands pat something else could break in the financial system.

But for capital markets, the lights have turned from read to yellow and there are hints of green ahead. That’s reason to believe that 2024 could see a return to normal for capital markets activity on the Central Coat. That is something we haven’t seen since the pre-pandemic era.

COSTEAU HONORED AT GALA

Jean-Michel Cousteau with GM Steven Janicek (left) and GM of The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, Maui Andrew Rogers (right). (courtesy photo Ingrid Bostrom Photography)

Among the environmental heroes of the region, explorer and conservationist Jean-Michel Cousteau stands alone as a visionary when it comes to preserving marine sanctuaries.

That’s why we’re pleased to report that World Animal Protection and World Cetacean Alliance, which counts Cousteau as honorary president, have named a large portion of the Santa Barbara Channel as a Wildlife Heritage Area and a whale heritage site. Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society has spent more than 70 years in support of a safer environment for marine life and having the global program create a program so close to his home is a tribute to his efforts on behalf of responsible tourism.

“Whale Heritage Areas are becoming the gold standard for responsible whale watching destinations worldwide,” said Cousteau in a statement issued in conjunction with the announcement.  He and Ocean Futures have been based in the Santa Barbara area since 1999.

On Nov. 11, Cousteau was honored at the Ocean Futures Gala at the Ritz Carlton Santa Barbara. Kudos to the Ritz Carlton, Westerlay Orchids, Por La Mar Nursery and the South Coast Chamber for supporting the gala and efforts to make tourism more sustainable.