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Financial News

Feb 2009 Financial News

Lee Chin's NCB holdings fall to 68%

Feb 11, 2009

Michael Lee Chin and his companies have given up more than 64.6 million of his holdings in National Commercial Bank (NCB) in the past year, while a new investor associated with a rival bank has claimed the eighth spot among the top 10 shareholders of Jamaica's largest bank by assets.

Shares sold off

Lee Chin now owns 68 per cent of NCB - down from 76 per cent at acquisition over six years ago - through subsidiaries of his mutual fund company AIC Barbados Limited, AIC Global Holdings Inc, Advantage General Insurance, and NCB Insurance Company. The shares were sold off in a series of transactions last year, reportedly to finance a new Lee Chin venture.

FCIB Barbados Limited, through account C1191, now holds 1.08 per cent, or 26.77 million of NCB's shares. Still, the holdings in NCB - a $291 billion operation with capital base or net worth exceeding $31 billion - are not as munificent as a year ago.

Lee Chin's stake at current market price of $13 per share, is worth J$21.86 billion, whereas a year ago his holdings, valued at stock market prices, were closer to $42 billion when the share was trading at $24.

The bank's stock has tumbled alongside others since last September when the collapse of the world's financial system was sparked in New York by the failure of Lehman Brothers.

NCB group's investment arm, took $1.2 billion hit as a result of the crisis.

At first glance, the declaration of shareholdings in the bank's 2008 annual report suggests that director Wayne Chen has a near equal share in NCB with Lee Chin.

However, NCB spokeswoman Sheree Martin told Wednesday Business that the near 1.53 billion shares ascribed to Chen include the holdings of his brother, a new reporting format required by the Jamaica Stock Exchange.

Chen, she said, owns 14,044 shares, while his wife holds 7,500.

Similary, the 49.52 million shares ascribed to deputy managing director Dennis Cohen include Advantage General's 49.43 million shares in NCB, Martin said. Cohen is a director of the insurance company.

Jamaica Gleaner
Wednesday February 11, 2009