In T&T: First Citizens To Go On Stock Exchange

11 October 2011


The idea has been bandied about for years now. Let’s see how long it takes to materialise!

The programme to rationalise several State-owned organisations has begun.

In his budget delivery yesterday, Finance Minister Winston Dookeran said shares of commercial bank First Citizens and Point Lisas Industrial Port Development Corporation Ltd (PLIPDECO) will be put on the Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange (TTSE).

He said an initial public offer (IPO) coming out of the merger between the Trinidad and Tobago Mortgage Finance Company and the Home Mortgage Bank would also be made available for public purchase on the TTSE.

“The Government will expand these public offerings in its continuing effort to improve the efficiency of the State enterprise sector and enhance the domestic capital market,” Dookeran said.

“The first phase of the programme would involve the securing of strategic investors for a numbers of State enterprises. In parallel, further public offerings will be made on the Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange,” he added.

Dookeran stated that the First Citizens IPO will not affect Government ownership of the bank.

“It will assist the bank in widening its capital base and so facilitate its expansion programme in which the bank is currently engaged,” he said.

Dookeran also said as part of the Government’s continuing technical work and due diligence exercises, a second tranche of the programme would involve the implementation of more public offerings or efforts to secure “strategic investors” for some of the chosen enterprises.

“In the final analysis, all State enterprises would be modernised with best practice corporate governance structures in their administration. We are ensuring, through the modernisation of our State enterprises, that the citizens of this country are provided with affordable, transparent and customer-focused services and an opportunity to share in the ownership of these enterprises,” Dookeran said.

First Citizens group chief executive officer, Larry Howai, said the bank currently has three major shareholders, National Insurance Bank, Central Bank and the Government and “was proud to add the people of Trinidad and Tobago as new shareholders”.

In a media release, Howai said he was pleased with the budget presentation. He said the bank’s capital base increased by 19.5 per cent from $4.1 billion in 2009 to $4.9 billion in 2010.

“Trinidad and Tobago, the time is right for us all to invest in, and own, a piece of this great institution,” he said.

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