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Financial News

Sep 2014 Financial News

NCB unloads stake in Kgn Wharves

Sep 25, 2014

NATIONAL Commercial Bank (NCB) Jamaica Limited has sold its stake in Kingston Wharves (KW) for some $3 billion in order to divest non-core activity, the bank announced yesterday.

Conglomerate Jamaica Producers Group (JP) and US-based Seaboard Corporation acquired the shares and respectively became the largest and second-largest shareholders in KW.

"We continuously review our investment holdings and our operations and have concluded that KW falls outside our core strategic priorities at this time. We are pleased to have been able to identify two buyers who are committed to the continued development of the Kingston port and logistics business," Patrick Hylton, group managing director of NCB, said in a release yesterday.

The KW terminal has a 1.7-kilometre continuous quay that provides nine deep-water berths for roll-on roll-off, lift-on-lift-off, general break bulk, containerised cargo and bulk cargo vessels.

JP increased its ownership from 30 to 42 per cent with its purchase of $1 billion worth of the shares, while Seaboard purchased $2 billion worth, or 21 per cent.

"JP is convinced that KW's status as the leading Caribbean multi-purpose and multi-user port has always benefited from the active involvement of diverse industry stakeholders. We think it is good for Jamaica and good for Kingston Wharves that Seaboard has decided to invest alongside JP, other shipping interests and the Jamaican public at this important moment in the development of Jamaica's logistics sector," said Charles Johnston, chairman of JP.

JP is a specialty foods and logistics group operating in the Caribbean and Europe with some $5.9 billion in equity and listed on the Jamaica Stock Exchange.

NCB held 360.8 million shares and its subsidiary NCB Capital markets held 105.3 million for a combined holding of some 32.59 per cent, according to the Kingston Wharves annual report. The 466 million shares traded at $6.50, according to information on the Jamaica Stock Exchange.

BroadSpan Capital LLC acted as NCB's exclusive financial advisor for this transaction.

"Our shipping line has operated as a customer of Kingston Wharves for decades. We are pleased to deepen our long-standing relationship with all of the stakeholders of Kingston Wharves in our new capacity as shareholder," said Edward Gonzalez, president of Seaboard Marine.

Seaboard Corporation is a global food, energy and transportation company that is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Through its Seaboard Marine Division, it operates a containerised shipping service between the United States, the Caribbean Basin, and Central and South America.


Jamaica Observer
Thursday September 25, 2014