Wednesday 25 November, 2020

JMMB says it's looking for deals

 Keith Duncan

Keith Duncan

President and CEO of JMMB Group, Keith Duncan says the company is considering acquisitions amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic which has opened up opportunities for businesses.

“We are looking to grow. This is [the time] when you buy beat up assets. Opportunities are there,” Duncan stated during the weekly Mayberry Investment Forum on Wednesday.

He added, “We have a healthy pipeline of investment prospects, some closer than some.”

The company is also expecting organic growth, noting that, in both Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica, commercial banking has brought in a new class of clients which is highly bankable.

Duncan stated that commercial banking “ has better helped us to meet the need of our clients. We have standardised banking processes and procedures over all three [Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Trinidad and Tobago.]

“Our clientele was originally not transactional. If you look at the growth of our loan portfolio, there is significant growth among clients who are more transactional but highly bankable.”

Asked what was  the governance structure around connected but competing financial institutions [ Proven owns 22.5 per cent of JMMB while JMMB owns a stake in Sagicor Financial] the CEO explained, “Proven does not sit on our board but we have frequent information sessions.

“For Sagicor, we sit on the boards, USA and Sagicor Life. We recuse ourselves from Jamaica boards, but at the same time we do collaborate where we can.”

Duncan asserted that "JMMB as a standalone group continues to do well and make its own acquisitions. It’s one of the fastest growing regional companies.”

JMMB Group delivered net profit of $7 billion at financial year end March 31, 2020. The company spent $35 billion in 2019 to acquire 22.5 per cent of regional finance company Sagicor Financial.

The group expects to receive 22.5 per cent of profit going forward, in addition to dividend payments.

Dividend payout from Sagicor to JMMB in the fourth quarter of last financial year was $225 million, while the payment received in the first quarter of the current financial year was $125 million.

The acquisition was  described as “a steady dividend stream which impacts cash flow and funds under management in a significant manner” by JMMB management at its annual general meeting.

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