Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 7th 2014 Contents A19
• Twitter: @GuardianTT • Web: guardian.co.tt
The T&T Chamber said while its
members have reported a general
improvement in availability of foreign
exchange, they are still not getting
enough to meet their overall needs.
Chamber CEO Catherine Kumar said
the organisation has been regularly
canvassing members on the matter and
has found that some have been
experiencing a continuous shortage for
over a year.
"So what we have found is that even
though companies are obtaining forex, it
is not without considerable hurdles at
times---including opening secondary
accounts, employing currency swaps
which results in paying considerably
higher rates for US dollars. Notably, the
category of companies that continues
to be most affected by the forex issue
is medium-sized companies; we have
seen that the foreign exchange needs of
very small companies are relatively
minimal." Kumar said the Central Bank
needs to do a thorough analysis to
determine what the exact reasons are
to account for the shortage to the
general business community. Without
this information to properly inform the
Central Bank and allow for evidence-
based corrective action, it may be that
pumping more US dollars into the
system will not resolve the issue of
unmet demand," she said.
T&T Chamber members still not getting enough forex
The ongoing investigation
of the First Citizens Bank ini-
tial public offering (IPO) by the
Securities Exchange Commis-
sion (SEC) has resulted in an
indefinite delay of the Phoenix
Park Gas Processors Limited
IPO which was originally
scheduled for July 21.
The Phoenix Park shares had
been expected to be listed on
the T&T Stock Exchange
(TTSE) on September 22 at $25
According to a report on
CNC3 s BusinessWatch, the
Ministry of Finance has told the
National Gas Company (NGC),
majority shareholder in Phoenix
Park with a 90 per cent stake,
that the IPO has been delayed
due to an ongoing review of
issues related to the First Cit-
izens Bank IPO. The ministry
said the Phoenix Park IPO will
go ahead once those issues are
All parties involved are now
awaiting a new date for the IPO
from the Ministry of Finance.
Some 75 million Phoenix Park
shares will be offered and the
net proceeds are estimated to
be about $2 billion.
This latest development
comes almost seven months
after former First Citizens chief
risk officer Hassan Philip
Rahaman sold 634,588 of the
659,588 shares he purchased in
the bank s initial public offering
(IPO. There is no word on SEC s
investigation into that transac-
tion which has been in progress
The SEC probe was one of
three launched into the First
Citizens IPO. The others were
the bank s internal audit and a
forensic audit that Pricewater-
houseCoopers (PWC) was com-
missioned to do by Finance
Minister Larry Howai. The latter
audit report was completed at
the end of March but its find-
ings have not been made public.
Reacting to this latest devel-
opment, shareholder activist
Peter Permell called on the SEC
to either provide a proper
update, or complete its probe
of the First Citizens IPO.
"Why is this taking so long?"
asked Permell who said the
show pace of the investigation
has derailed Government s
divestment programme which
was announced by Howai in his
2013/2013 Budget presentation.
In addition to the First Citizens
and Phoenix Park IPOs, the pro-
gramme was also supposed to
include a merger of the Home
Mortgage Bank (HMB) and T&T
Mortgage Finance Company
(TTMF) followed by an IPO of
the resulting new entity.
The SEC has refused to com-
ment on the ongoing probe
apart from stating that such
investigations can be time-con-
suming and they had to be
painstaking and thorough as
they sought to determine
whether there was a breach of
the Securities Act, 2012.
Permell told the T&T
Guardian this position is con-
trary to what obtains in "more
developed jurisdictions" where
SECs give regular updates and
"a general sense of direction."
"That is sorely lacking in this
matter which is of great public
interest," he said.
Permell said the SEC has an
obligation to the public given
the nature of the investigation.
He added: "The shareholder
community is not happy at all
about the delay with the
Phoenix Park IPO. They would
have put aside funds, even bor-
rowed money and adjusted their
investment porfolios in antic-
ipation of that IPO."
First Citizens probe delays
Phoenix Park IPO
September 16, 2013: FCB shares are listed on the TTSE.
January 14: Hassan Philip Rahaman sells 634,588 of the 659,588
First Citizens shares that he purchased in the IPO to Imtiaz Rahaman,
Alia Rita Rahaman and five companies owned by the Rahaman family.
January 16: Hassan Philip Rahaman writes to theSEC's Market
Regulation and Surveillance Division to inform them of the transaction.
He also informs First Citizens corporate secretary Sharon Christopher.
February 7: Bourse Securities writes to First Citizens Investment
Services Ltd general manager Jason Julien to confirm that Rahaman
had declared his source of funds.
February 14 Finance Minister Larry Howai announces that he had
ordered a forensic audit into the entire IPO.
February 19 The TTSE writes to First Citizens to ask why the
trades of its chief risk officer Philip Rahaman were not reported within
the stipulated five business days.
March 5: The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) raises
concerns with the board of TTSE about its compliance with good
corporate governance, best practice and the conflict of interest of its
chairman Subhas Ramkhelawan and recommends that he be removed.
March 12: The sales of shares, which was required by law to be
disclosed by Hassan Philip Rahaman within five business days of the
transaction, is reported to market by the TTSE.
March 14: First Citizens chairman Nyree Alfonso defends the
purchase and sale of the shares by Rahaman.
March 25: First Citizens announces that Hassan Philip Rahaman is
fired with immediate effect due to the bank's loss of confidence in him.
April 10: Subhas Ramkhelawan, managing director of Bourse
Securities, resigns as an Independent senator and as chairman of the
T&T Stock Exchange (TTSE).
May 12: Chairman Nyree Alfonso and three other directors---Rishi
Baddaloo, Shobee Jacelon and Marlene Juman--- are removed from the
board of First Citizens at the bank's AGM
June 17: At a special meeting former attorney general Anthony
Smart is appointed First Citizens chairman. Also installed are Jean-
Pierre du Coudray, a director of the T&T Chamber; Joel Pemberton, CEO
of Trinity Exploration and Production Plc; Michelle Durham-Kissoon,
deputy permanent secretary, Ministry of Finance; Courtenay Williams,
attorney and senior partner, Pollonais and Blanc; and Hazar Hosein,
CEO, Land Settlement Agency.
July 3: At a special meeting of the board Franka Costelloe and Ryan
Proudfoot are installed as directors.
July 9: First Citizens Bank announces the resignations of three
more directors, deputy chairman Anil Seetarram, Ramish Ramanand
and Ved Seereeram.
Links Archive August 6th 2014 August 8th 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page