GraceKennedy considers listing Bajan subsidiary

GraceKennedy considers listing Bajan subsidiary

Grace posted $103.09 billion for 2019

Observer business writer

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

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GraceKennedy has hinted that it may soon be listing its Barbados subsidiary, SigniaGlobe Financial Group on that country's stock exchange in furtherance of its regional expansion plan.

CEO Don Webby, Chief Executive Officer of the GraceKennedy Group told Barbados TODAY that while no decision has yet been taken, it is seriously considering listing SigniaGlobe Financial on the Barbados Stock Exchange (BSE).

SigniaGlobe Financial Group is in the business of offering financial services to the Bajan market. Listing SigniaGlobe Financial on the BSE is seen as a viable option for GraceKennedy, as it expands throughout the Caribbean.

Wehby did not provide details of the expansion plans or say how advanced those plans were. However, when asked about the possible listing on the BSE Wehby responded, “This is something we are always looking at, at the GraceKennedy Group, how to maximise shareholders value and that may in fact be one option, to list SigniaGlobe on the Barbados Stock Exchange.”

“Let me also say that this company also has Caribbean plans to expand outside of Barbados. So listing may be an attractive vehicle to utilise capital for expansion,” Wehby explained.

SigniaGlobe Financial was formed in September 2018 when GraceKennedy, the parent company of the then Signia Financial Group Inc, acquired Globe Finance Inc in a deal estimated at BD$11.8 million. Signia and Globe were two of the leading merchant banks in Barbados, competing to provide retail and commercial lending, foreign exchange services, and fixed deposits.

With about a 40 per cent stake, GraceKennedy Limited is the majority shareholder in SigniaGlobe, with other shareholders being Massy United Insurance and Cave Shepherd & Company. Wehby said he was very happy about the exceptional performance of the new entity, adding that it was recording very good profits over the past year-and-a-half.

He also told Barbados TODAY that “The merger with Signia and Globe has gone exceptionally well. According to the GraceKennedy CEO, “The company is operating in a very profitable manner. Our expectations in terms of the merger are being met.

He added that SigniaGlobe is meeting all expectations and that the company is operating at a very profitable level and as such GraceKennedy is happy about that acquisition. Wehby was responding to questions during a live-streamed investor briefing on Wednesday, where he announced that the GraceKennedy Group recorded revenue of $103.09 billion, representing an increase of 5.7 per cent over 2018.

This is already ahead of the company's $100 billion target for the year 2022, which was set to coincide with its 100th anniversary. Wehby indicated that all GraceKennedy's business segments: banking and investment, insurance, money services, and food division all recorded increases in revenue and profit last year, when compared to 2018.

Boasting that 2019 was a very rewarding year for the GraceKennedy Group, Wehby said he expected 2020 to set another record. He attributed the strong performance of the group to the “dedication and productivity of staff and efficiency in the company's operations”.

Adding that technology will be a strategic focus for the company this year, Wehby said he anticipated technology and innovation would be a key driver of even greater efficiency.

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