Posted on

Divestment of 51 percent shares of NCB to ECFH in final stages

Social Share

The process of divesting 51 per cent of the shares of the former National Commercial Bank to East Caribbean Financial Holding (ECFH) Company Ltd is in the final stages.{{more}}

The disclosure was made by Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves at the recent sitting of the House last Monday, October 25.

According to Gonsalves, the process was now at a stage where the authorities on both sides were “concluding all legal and administrative arrangements to fully complete the transfer of the shares.”

“There are two principal agreements: the sale and purchase agreement, and share holders agreement and they are now being finalized by the legal teams and all the personnel involved,” Dr Gonsalves said.

The Prime Minister also indicated that the requisite regulatory approvals were also being finalized and he anticipated that the mentioned processes will be completed by the end of the first week of November, by which time a transfer date will be agreed.

“The sale price is what is reflective of the book value,” the Prime Minister said, adding that he had been advised that companies trade based on their book values.

The current shares of ECFH stand at $13.80 a share and it was expected that the share values would increase, Dr Gonsalves explained.

“In the mean time, the bank continues to do business as usual,” Dr Gonsalves said, as he reaffirmed the position put forward earlier by the bank’s Chief Executive Officer Andre Iton that there will be no staff cuts.

He also noted that the properties acquired from National Properties Ltd, which include lands at Mount Wynne, will be returned to that entity.

Dr Gonsalves further contended that the property at Reigate in Kingstown was never transferred to the NCB, but had in fact been owned by National Properties Ltd., and the new bank had indicated that they were interested in renting two of the three floors to operate its business.

“So this will be more profitable for National Properties with the rental,” Dr Gonsalves said.

“The bank is bigger, better and stronger in 2010, and we hope to make it stronger through the incorporation with ECFH,” he said. (DD)