Business News of 2014-05-16

Republic Bank concerned about HFC decision

The Republic Bank on Thursday assured HFC Bank and stakeholders of its commitment to contributing to the economic growth and development in Ghana through its investment in HFC Bank.

A statement issued in Accra and signed by Michelle Palmer-Keizer, General Manager, Group Marketing and Communications at the Republic Bank Limited, expressed concern about allegations contained in an HFC Board release in connection with Republic’s announcement on 16 April 2014 of its mandatory offer to shareholders.

It said from “Republic Bank’s initial entry into Ghana in November 2012, it has consistently attempted to adhere to the rules and regulations laid down by the Bank of Ghana and the Ghana Securities and Exchange Commission and where there has been ambiguity, Republic Bank has sought clarification and guidance from its Ghana advisors and the regulatory authorities.”

“In November of 2012, Republic Bank Limited and HFC Bank (Ghana) agreed to the framework for the investment by Republic Bank in HFC Bank. The agreement, signed on 6th November, 2012, provided that RBL would not increase its shareholding in HFC Bank beyond 40 per cent for a period of one year without the prior approval of the Board of Directors.

Both parties recognized that the mandatory takeover code would be triggered if Republic acquired over 30 per cent during the one year period and that the process would have to be followed if the SEC’s approval was not obtained for a waiver.”

The statement said the Republic Bank had always maintained the position that the mandatory offer requirement was a legal one which could not be set aside simply by an agreement between the relevant company and a shareholder, and that, the Bank valued all relationships and strategic partnerships entered into.

“However, at no time will the value of those relationships supersede the laws in the countries in which they are operating” it said, and added “Republic Bank seeks at all times to work with regulatory authorities and act in compliance with the laws of the land and agrees that the final decision on this matter made by the shareholders”.

Republic Bank Limited is one of the largest and most successful independent commercial banks in the English-speaking Caribbean. Republic Bank brings with it, 176 years of retail and commercial banking activity; more than 30 years of merchant banking experience; almost 20 years in special project funding; 150 years in corporate banking and approximately eight years providing investment and brokerage services.

“Republic Bank adds value to the markets it enters, through a developmental approach that ensures strong local input, strong local knowledge and strong local influence in decision making.

Today, the Republic Bank Group has a staff complement across the Caribbean region of 4,098 people. Republic Bank Limited has considerable experience in the area of mortgages and credit cards. It also has extensive knowledge of financing of the oil and gas sectors in Trinidad and Tobago.

As at September 2013, the assets of Republic Bank Limited stood at US $9.1 billion, with equity at US$ 1.3 billion and profits attributable to shareholders for the year ended September 2013 of US$ 182.2 million.

Republic Bank is listed on the Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange with subsidiaries in Trinidad, Guyana, Barbados and Grenada as well as in other Caribbean Countries. Republic Bank's support of its Caribbean subsidiaries has resulted in all cases in market share growth and increased profitability.