Antigua In Talks For Forty Percent Stake In Scotia Bank


The Antigua and Barbuda government says it has received ‘positive” feedback to a proposal that would allow it to own at least 40 per cent of the Scotiabank branch here, which is being sold as part of several branches in the Caribbean to a Trinidad and Tobago-based financial institution.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne, speaking on his privately –owned radio station, said that his administration had put two options on the table with the Trinidad-based Republic Financial Holdings Limited (RFHL) regarding the sale.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne (CMC File Photo)

“Our first position is that Antigua and Barbuda consortium comprising the government and a group of domestic banks should be given the first option to buy the Antigua Scotia branch.

‘Our second option is to partner with Republic Bank and in that case we will take up to 40 per cent shares. I can tell you that Republic Bank has indicated a willingness and in fact they said to us formally that yes they will cooperate. They will allow us to get the 40 per cent shares, so we have to look at price,” he added.

Last November, the RFHL announced that it was seeking to acquire Scotiabank operations in several Caribbean countries.

Antigua and Barbuda and Guyana had initially expressed reservations about the proposed acquisition, with St. John’s indicating that it would not be issuing a vesting order to facilitate the move.

The RFHL statement said that the banks being acquired are located in Guyana, St. Maarten, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

It said that the purchase price is US$123 million, which represents US$25 million consideration for total shareholding of Scotiabank Anguilla Limited; and a premium of US$98 million over net asset value for operations in the remaining eight countries.

Antigua and Barbuda has said that it wants assurances that local banks will be given priority to purchase Scotiabank’s operations on the island and that local persons’ investments and savings will be protected.

Browne told radio listeners that he held discussions last weekend with the Premier of Bermuda, David Burt and he has indicated a willingness to get involved in the Scotia Bank sale.

“He said to me I wish if you guys within OECS would go for the purchase of Scotia. He is quite sure that the pension fund in Bermuda would be happy to have a significant stake in the bank in the Caribbean,” Browne said, adding that “for some reason within the OECS we have not been able to get a consensus on the issue.

‘So far to my knowledge it would appear that all of the other leaders have agreed to the Republic Bank deal. We have no difficulty with their decision. I mean they have the right so to do, but I see a great opportunity for the OECS countries to step up and to take control of those Scotia Bank branches”.

Last week, Browne called for the establishment of a Caribbean bank that would allow the region to counteract the position of international banks regarding corresponding banking.

Caribbean countries have been arguing that the threat by banks in developed countries to withdraw correspondent banking services would exclude the region from the global finance and trading system with grave consequences for the maintenance of financial stability, economic growth, remittance flows and poverty alleviation.

Browne said he believes the region should also consider getting together and purchase Scotiabank operations in the region.

“I thought that was an excellent opportunity for the OECS counties, in particular, to come together and purchase the branches,” he said noting that it would have required at least 98 million US dollars for the nine branches “with perhaps about three billion US dollars in assets

“I thought that was an excellent opportunity for the region which would have helped us to have one major bank that would have branches in the diaspora to provide banking services to Caribbean people in the diaspora,” Browne said.

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  1. “Well well” you are a complete idiot. A 40% share by Antigua represents job security and currency stability. Instead of all these bank profits going to foreign private share holders, the country earns revenue. Less we forget the $20 million in profits from bank fees alone the bank saw at the end of 2018’s financial year…. Currently $1 ECD is equivalent to $2.51 TTD or the inverse would be $1 TTD equivalent to 0.398 ECD. Our dollar is pegged to the USD, and is one of the top 30 most stable currencies internationally, not to mention in the top 40 most valuable of approximately 190 international currencies. Before you share your stupid posts, and spread your stupidity around… pick up a book, do some resesrch, read, or just shut the hell up!

    • An interesting bit of reading for you is attached within:

      (That’s if ANR allows the link to be shared)

      Our eyes are open, but yet we often fail to see what is in front of us!

      I doubt the thoughts of the country are at the forefront for this discussion. More likely another avenue for the govenment to be able to overborrow money and delay payments. You mention the country earning revenue, but yet there is a surprising lack of transparency with these things. I hope I’m wrong, but I doubt it…

    • yes thanks you are so right i have picked up what is equivalent to my bank book and will be heading to the bank today. Thank you for your candid advice.

    • HI friend. Do not stress about him. Even the dummies have a right to show their colors. Remember it is one thing to think of someone as dumb but when he open his mouth and confirms it its another thing.

    • Silent Watcher… does it sound to you that WELL WELL has any serious money? Everybody with six figures understands the basics of financing and banking, unless he ah wan “jhugs dealah”. Pay him no mind…

  2. If we had this Prime Minister at the time that Bank of Antigua went through their run on the bank Antigua would have had the majority share in ECAB. But the UPP government lead by Harold Lovell allowed Dwight Veneer to give Antigua people’s money to St. Lucia and St. Vincent. I wonder if the PM can come up with a strategy to acquire a majority share in ECAB. So that the majority of the bank’s profits stays right here in Antigua.

  3. This move by the government is not only crazy, but wrong. I want to be absolutely clear here. A Government entity is the banking regulator here in Antigua. Government is also the telecommunication regulator. Government is also the insurance regulator. It is not good business practice for the regulator to be also in competition within the very sector it regulates. This would be illegal in any other place. Government recently invested huge sums into a Friars Hill Road Bank, and without proper financial statements, we heard about the banks remarkable turn around. Government seem to have found a windfall of money to be able to buy majority shares in LIAT, to want to but DiGICEL, to recently acquire majority shares in the Friars Hill Road Bank and now wanting to invest in Scotia Bank. Whilst I have no issue with local business input, I see Government’s approach to getting involved in these entities a very dangerous move.

    • I get the feeling u Mr Phllip want to run in politics but u are on the fence on which political party u want to join.

      • Not at all my friend. At some point in my life I have voted for both major political parties. The brand of politics that is common today is one where we are afraid to speak out if we are not in agreement with something that the Government we support does. I don’t want to be like that. There are many qualities that I admire in the Prime Minister and some things I openly lend my support. But I would never be afraid to speak out against those things that I don’t think are in Antigua’s best interest. I practice true democracy and my non alignment means that I can do so without fear or favour.

  4. Do not support this idea…..once stated that the government was not interested in the bank and their interest was only for the local banks….Oh was I wrong. What kind of CRAP is this? Do not be surprise if people start taking their monies from SB and deposit into another bank, hopefully it can be ACB. Wondering if the PM with a banking background see something that some of us are not aware of or is he trying to sure up banking business after his retirement from politics? CUB comes to mind.

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