Another option for Republic shares

Geralyn Edward, Business Editor,

Added 27 November 2012

Republic Bank's group chief executive officer said the Trinidad-based bank would not do a share swap with the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) for the former Barbados National Bank shares. However, David Dulal Whiteway has told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY in an exclusive interview on the weekend that Republic Bank was interested in engineering another path for the NIS to get its hands on Republic Bank shares. The NIS owns 9.6 million former BNB (now Republic Bank Barbados) shares. Republic Bank Limited owns 65 per cent of the bank and wants 100 per cent control, and is willing to pay $48 million to the NIS at $5 per share, and some $87 million to Government for its holding. However, NIS chairman Dr Justin Robinson said the social security scheme was already very liquid and therefore preferred a share swap for equity in the Republic Bank group in Trinidad. Dulal Whiteway said having the NIS as a shareholder was something the institution would welcome, but Republic Bank had no plans to issue new shares in order for that to happen because it too was well capitalized. “For us, it is about finding sellers of Republic Bank shares in Trinidad which the NIS can buy into. This would have to be a two-step approach where we buy the NIS shares, they get the cash, and then we work with certain institutional investors who might be interested in liquidating,” the top banker explained. In this connection he identified CLICO Investment Bank, which owns 19 per cent of Republic Bank but was in receivership as part of the collapsed CL Financial group. “The receiver [of CLICO Investment Bank] is the Deposit Insurance Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago and therefore at some point they will need to liquidate their shareholding – and out of that, I believe there are opportunities for the NIS to get back in as shareholders of Republic,” Dulal Whiteway pointed out. The Republic Bank boss said his institution had been lobbying Trinidad’s Central Bank to find ways to monetize the equity that the CL Financial subsidiary had in Republic. “If we can get them to agree, then we can say ‘NIS needs a certain amount of shares’ . . . . “There is lots of room for the NIS to get in, coming from that perspective,” he revealed.

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