As businesses and Government continue to monitor the local foreign supply situation, it appears that a huge chunk may have rocked the boat recently.
Yesterday, beverage giant, Banks DIH Limited, in a published statement, said that it spent $5.5B (approximately US$26M) on December 1, to repurchase 150,138,464 of its common shares that had been held in its issued capital by Banks Holdings Limited (BHL) of Barbados. This represented approximately 15 percent of the share capital. Banks DIH is a major shareholder on Citizens Bank in Guyana.
In recent days, there have been growing concerns over what appears to be a shortage of US dollars at commercial banks in Guyana. Businesses have been complaining of difficulties to send monies to suppliers and others, with commercial banks placing them on a waiting list.
However, Finance Minister, Winston Jordan, and the Governor of Central Bank, have denied any shortages and said that there is enough currency in the system to cater for demand.
They also said Tuesday that there is evidence of some level of questionable off-loading of large quantities of Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados currencies in the local market and that Central Bank, with strong international reserves, stands ready to release US dollars to commercial banks, if the need arises.
Jordan warned commercial banks not to hoard foreign currencies but to make them available.
With regards to the Banks DIH purchase of shares in the company in Barbados, the paid full page advertisement in Kaieteur News yesterday stated that it will be recalled that by letter dated February 25, 2005, Banks DIH had disclosed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) entered into with the Bajan company.
The MOU had provided for “certain” cooperation arrangements between the two companies designed to enhance and expand their businesses in the Caribbean Community and beyond.
“It was a fundamental term of those co-operation arrangements under the MOU, that each company would hold shares in the issued capital of each other.”
In December 2015, Banks DIH announced that it had sold the shares in the Bajan company being a total amount of 4,358,815 common shares constituting approximately 6.7% of capital.
This was in the context of the takeover of in Barbados by Brazilian-owned, AMBEV.
At that date, the Bajan company had some 20% of the issued capital in Banks DIH.
The advertisement yesterday said that the cooperation arrangements between two companies came to an end December 2015.
According to Banks DIH, its Directors of BDIH have been advised that based on the ending of the cooperation agreement, “as well as the sale of BDIH’s shares in BHL, the situation whereby each company holds shares in the issued capital of each other should no longer continue to exist.”
As such, on December 1, Banks DIH repurchased 15% of the shares held in the Bajan company issued capital at the price of $36.79 per share.
That price was based on a valuation conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers in December 2015, which valued the 20% shareholding of BHL in the issued capital of BDIH, at fair market value between $37- $40 per share.
According to Banks DIH yesterday, its directors believe that the transaction was in the best interests of all the stakeholders.
Banks DIH is the maker of the popular Banks Beer and has the franchise on Coca Cola. It has a wide array of soft drinks, rums, malt, juices and even bread and crackers.
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