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Financial News

Jul 2010 Financial News

PCFS will redeem 50% preference share if buy-back falls short

Jul 14, 2010

PAN Caribbean Financial Services (PCFS) said it will redeem preference shares in October should it not meet its 50 per cent share buy-back target next month.

Last Friday, when the bank opened its monthlong share buy-back offer of $200 per stock unit plus accrued interest, PCFS advised "that in the event that acceptances by preference stock holders in relation to the offer to re-purchase not less than 50 per cent of the 12.5 per cent Cumulative redeemable preference stock units, the company shall, pursuant to its articles of incorporation and the terms and conditions of the relevant preference stock units, redeem on 12 october 2010 relevant preference stock units in such number as shall result in at least 50 per cent of the preference stock units held in the company being repurchased or redeemed in aggregate, by virtue of the offer to repurchase aforesaid and/or the redemption aforesaid".

PCFS said it would buy back at least half of the preference shares it issued in early 2008 in order "to take advantage of current market conditions".

The bank said it would acquire the shares via open market purchase and "a specific account will be established at the Jamaica Central Securities Depository (JCSD) for the purpose of acquiring the stock units".

While giving no further reason than it was taking advantage of prevailing market conditions, the financial institution issued the five-year redeemable preference shares with a carrying rate of 12.5 per cent (tax free) in March 1, 2008 -- around the time when Government was issuing securities carrying rates at 15 per cent and higher.

Since the Government swapped its debt in February, interest rates have declined with the latest move by the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) setting the rate on 30-day certificates of deposits at nine per cent.

PCFS had issued 6.3 million of the shares in 2008 to raise $1.26 billion. Repurchasing half of those shares would mean the bank can further reduce its cost of funds.

In its 2009 annual report, PCFS said "the average rate on borrowed funds and preference shares was 10.34 per cent in 2009 versus 12.28 per cent in 2008".

Over 63 per cent of the preference shares are held by financial institutions and insurers. JMMB long-term equity portfolio holds almost 40 per cent of the shares while insurers -- BCIC, Globe, NEM, and ICWI -- collectively hold 17.6 per cent of the shares.

Jamaica Observer
Wednesday July 14, 2010