Thu | Jul 2, 2020

NCB $1.4b stock trade

Published:Sunday | June 28, 2020 | 12:13 AM
NCB Financial headquarters, The Atrium, in New Kingston.
NCB Financial headquarters, The Atrium, in New Kingston.

Connected parties sold over $1.4 billion worth of shares in NCB Financial Group, in one of the largest stock market trades this year.

Between June 17 and 18, some 10.34 million units of NCBFG shares were traded in block transactions. The stock price hovers at around $140, not far from its one year low of $131.

NCB Financial acknowledged that the shares were traded but didn’t disclose the name of the buyer and seller. Instead it offered a general comment to the Financial Gleaner.

“It is recognised that the decision to buy and sell securities by any person or entity may be influenced by a number of factors, which may vary from time to time. NCBFG has an obligation to notify the stock exchanges, on which its securities are listed of dealings in its securities by directors, senior management and their connected persons. NCBFG does not generally provide details beyond those which have been shared,” the No 1 banking conglomerate said.

Connected Parties

The trades were done by connected parties to NCBFG, according to notices sent to both the Jamaica and Trinidad stock exchanges. Few shareholders who are connected parties hold over 10 million units. Those that do among the top owners are: AIC Barbados, controlled by investor Michael Lee-Chin who chairs NCB Financial Group; AIC Global; NCB Financial president Patrick Hylton; Deputy CEO and CFO Dennis Cohen; and Guardian Life of the Caribbean.

The next largest trade occurred last December 16 when million units changed ownership. In the June notices sent to the exchanges, the Jamaica Stock Exchange said the trades were by “connected parties” while the Trinidad & Tobago Stock Exchange described the trades as done by “a connected party”.

NCB Financial Group is a $1.6 trillion conglomerate, by assets, with operations in multiple Caribbean markets and businesses that span banking, insurance and investment.

Subsequent to its acquisition of Trinidad-based insurance conglomerate Guardian Holdings Limited, NCB Financial last year recorded another record profit of $30 billion.

For the March quarter, the COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted its investment holdings and earnings for the period, but the banking group still reported a profit of $5.6 billion after tax credits. Profit before tax totalled $3.4 billion, down from $6.6 billion a year earlier.

The NCBFG stock has traded as high as $249 per share in the past year, but the price has been falling. It closed at $139.93 on Friday, valuing the company at $345 billion.

The stock’s descent is in line with persistent bear market conditions, but at a decline of nearly 29 per cent year to date, NCBFG is performing a little worse than the combined market, which is down 25 per cent year to date.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com