NCB’s next stop Republic Holdings?

The price of US$2.45 offered by NCB Financial‘s for 32 percent more ownership in Guardian Holdings, is below the price the stock is trading at on the Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange of TT$18 or US$2.67. 
They need not worry, as they are virtually assured of getting the amount needed, based on the interest that Chairman Arthur Lock Jack has influence over in the Group. The acquisition of the added Guardian shares, will give the bigger NCB control over 2.6 million shares or just over 1.6 percent in Republic Financial Holdings, up from 2.17 million units in 2016, in Trinidad’s largest banking group. But that would be the start of a much bigger prize, that of control over Republic Holdings. Acquiring control of Republic while much more costly that the case of Guardian, will not be too difficult, as the Government of Trinidad and Tobago has directive over a large portion of Republic.
Clico Trust holds 40 million shares or 24.69 percent of Republic, the trust has a finite life of 10 years ending in 2021, while an addition 9.98 percent is held by CLICO Investment Bank (In liquidation) and Colonial Life owns 11.786 million units or 7.26 percent. All three amounts are subject to the direction of the Government of Trinidad who will be willing to sell to the right candidate, but the Colonial Group held 51 percent prior to the Government taking over some of the assets of the group.
The early target would be the Clico’s holdings, an amount set aside to compensate creditors in the Colonial Group. Sale of the Republic shares would allow for liquidation of the trust fund with investors getting an early exit and give NCB Financial an ownership level that would allow for booking any such acquisition as an associate.
Acquiring majority shares in Republic won’t be as easy as Guardian Holdings, while the capitalization of the latter is TT$4, Republic is now over TT$16 billion. NCB currently has assets at the end of September is US$5.5 billion but Republic assets are US$10.3 billion. Earnings per share for Republic at September 2016 was 88 us cents climbing in 2017 to US$1.16.
NCB Group total assets with the acquisition of majority shares in Clarien Bank will be in the region of US$7.6 billion and with majority shares in Guardian US$12 billion.
Acquisition of majority shares in Republic would give NCB a footprint in a number of Caribbean countries that the Bank has no interest in presently. The countries include Suriname, Guyana and Grenada.

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