Monday 19 August, 2019

Antiguan PM reports positive talks for 40 percent stake in Scotiabank

Antigua and Barbuda’s attempts to get a stake in Scotiabank seems favourable.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne said Republic Financial Holdings Limited (RFHL) has agreed in principle to his Government’s request for a 40 percent stake in the bank.

The shares will be held by a consortium of banks and the Government of Antigua and Barbuda.

Last year, RFHL, based in Trinidad and Tobago, announced the acquisition of Scotiabank in nine countries:  Guyana, St Maarten, Anguilla, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines and Antigua and Barbuda.

The Government of Antigua and Barbuda protested stating that local banks should have been given first preference to buy the local branch.

Speaking on his radio show on Pointe 99.1 FM, Browne said though the RFHL seems amenable to selling them the shares, he has an issue with the value they are putting on the branch.

“We are not quite happy with the maths. The value that we understand the bank to have they want to price it at about 300 percent of its value and we said to them we are not accepting that,” he said.

He said if RFHL does not agree, the consortium will seek to buy the bank themselves.

Browne said it is the national interest that they own either a minority or majority stake or all of the bank in order to build their banking structure.

He said they have to ensure the banking sector becomes resilient and that will only come from the acquisition of all the foreign banks on the island.

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