(Barbados Nation) As Barbados remains preoccupied with the bidding war for Banks Holdings Limited, two of the Caribbean’s leading companies have joined forces.
National Commercial Bank Jamaica Limited (NCBJ) is purchasing a 29.9 per cent stake in Trinidad-based insurer Guardian Holdings Limited (GHL) in a deal worth millions of dollars.
Officials of the two entities are calling the transaction “a momentous event in the financial services sector in the Caribbean”, noting that “GHL is the leading insurer across the region and holds leading positions in Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica, while NCBJ, one of the largest banks in the Caribbean, is the top banking and financial services group in Jamaica, with interests in the wider Caribbean region”.
Both companies have interests in Barbados. GHL operates a number of insurance companies here, while NCBJ subsidiary NCB Capital Markets Limited recently established an operation here, which is headed by former Financial Services Commission deputy chief executive officer (CEO) Warwick Ward.
Commenting on the GHL and NCBJ “alignment”, GHL CEO Ravi Tewari said: “The alignment of NCBJ and GHL is a very positive development and holds great opportunity for our shareholders, our clients and our employees. With its sterling reputation for financial strength, growth and customer service, in the banking space, NCBJ mirrors Guardian Group in the insurance space.”
NCBJ managing director Patrick Hylton, added: “This relationship between two of the largest financial services organisations in the Caribbean creates significant opportunities for growth. NCBJ’s mindset as a shareholder is to buy, hold and prosper, which is a perfect match for the long view held by Guardian Group, necessary to operate in the insurance landscape. “NCBJ would also bring a great deal of new investment opportunities for Guardian’s asset book.”
This, officials explained, “will be achieved through a private sale of part of their shares held by companies owned by the Lok Jack and Ahamad families and the International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank”.