Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 1st 2015 Contents A17
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Jamaica s largest bank by assets, NCBJ, yes-
terday consummated the acquisition of a 29.9
per cent stake in T&T s largest insurance com-
pany, Guardian Group, for an undisclosed sum.
The stake purchased by NCBJ, whose majority
shareholder is Jamaican billionaire Michael Lee
Chin, is significant because it is just under the
30 per cent threshold that would have triggered
a mandatory takeover bid for all of Guardian
Group s outstanding shares.
The transaction involved the Lok Jack and
Ahamad families selling most of their stake in
Guardian Group to NCBJ through a private sale.
Also selling some of its shares to NCBJ was the
International Finance Corporation (IFC), the
World Bank affiliate that invested US$75 million
in Guardian Group in 2010.
The transaction also involved the Lok Jack
and Ahamad families buying back the 12 per
cent stake in GHL held by the Royal Bank of
Canada (RBC) and IFC s remaining shares, lead-
ing to the exit from Guardian Group of its two
blue-chip foreign investors.
The result would be that NCBJ is GHL s largest
single shareholder; the Lok Jack and Ahamad
families would jointly be the second largest
shareholding block with a 22 per cent stake and
both RBC and the IFC have ended their share-
holding relationship with the Westmoorings-
based insurance company.
The completion of the transaction is subject
to it receiving all necessary regulatory approvals
in T&T and in Jamaica.
Addressing financial analysts, stockbrokers
and journalists at a briefing at the Hyatt yes-
terday, GHL chairman Arthur Lok Jack said: "I
am very happy that we have achieved a regional
solution. In the process we have replaced two
shareholders desiring exits with shareholders
who are eager to support the growth and expan-
sion of the Guardian Group."
The NCBJ acquisition of the significant stake
in GHL will see Lok Jack remain as the chairman
of the GHL board and the majority of the board
will continue to be independent directors,
according to a Guardian Group statement
released at yesterday s briefing.
Speaking at the briefing yesterday, Lee Chin
compared how he felt yesterday "nervous and
excited" with his feeling on March 22, 2002,
when he signed to purchase a 75 per cent stake
in NCBJ from the Government of Jamaica,
through a resolution company called FINSAC,
which was then headed by Patrick Hylton.
Yesterday, Hylton, who is now the group
managing director of NCBJ, said the investment
by the Jamaican bank in the T&T insurance
company created significant opportunities for
Guardian Group CEO Ravi Tewari said:
"The alignment of NCBJ and GHL is a very
positive development and holds great oppor-
tunity for our shareholders, our clients and
For the 12-month period ending September
30, 2015, NCBJ declared a net profit of J$12.3
billion, which works out to be about US$102
million, from assets of J$523.8 billion (about
US$4.4 billion). At its December 2014 year
end, Guardian Group s net profit was $400 mil-
lion (US$63 million).
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico---
Debt-burdened Puerto Rico is
struggling to make a looming
US$355 million bond payment.
Governor Alejandro Garcia
Padilla says he can't yet say for
certain whether the
Bank will make payments due
He told reporters yesterday
that the answer will depend on
what comes out of
negotiations with island
The GDB has warning for
weeks that it was in danger of
running out of money by the
end of the year. The
government has been
withholding payments to
suppliers and tax rebates to
preserve cash flow.
Failure to make the payment
would be an ominous turn for
the territory. The island has a
shrinking economy and a total
public debt of US$72 billion
that Garcia has previously
described as unpayable without
a restructuring. (AP)
Puerto Rico down to wire on debt
NCBJ now owns 29.9% of Guardian Group
Ravi Tewari group CEO Guardian Group, left, Imtiaz Ahamad director and major shareholder Guardian Group, Arthur Lok Jack chairman GHL join
hands with Michael Lee Chin, the chairman of NCBJ and Patrick Hylton the bank's CEO following the announcement by Guardian that NCBJ
would acquire 29.9 per cent of the insurance group at Hyatt Regency Hotel, Port-of-Spain, yesterday. PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
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