Campari to pay $10b in final dividend

By Camilo Thame Business Co-ordinator

Wednesday, September 12, 2012    

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A final dividend expected to be paid to Lascelles deMercado shareholders may top $10 billion.

Italian liquor company Campari, which has acquired Lascelles' rum and merchandising business, said that it would pay a one-time extraordinary dividend from the proceeds from the sale of "non-acquired assets".

That included Globe Insurance, which will be bought by Trinidadian-based Guardian Holdings for US$38 million ($3.4 billion).

Campari also listed shares in Carreras and other investments among the assets to be sold — the proceeds from which would be paid to existing shareholders.

At the end of March, Lascelles held 74.2 million shares in Carreras, which would be valued at $4.1 billion as of yesterday.

Lascelles said it sold equity in May, which contributed to $4 billion in other income for the April to June quarter. That may have been related to transactions on the Jamaica Stock Exchange which saw 66 million shares in Carreras cross the floor on May 25.

It is not yet clear if the proceeds from the sale in May will make up a part of Lascelles's last dividend. But the $3.3 billion earned from the share sell off plus the proceeds from the Globe sale along with another eight million shares in Carreras, valued at $450 million up to yesterday, and $2.5 billion in investments as at the end of June, would bring the total dividend payment above $10 billion.

That still doesn't include the assets held under Lascelles's transportation division, including Sterling Motors, Kingston Industrial Garage, John Crook and AJAS Limited, which are also to be sold.

Lascelles's most recent financial statements place the value of the assets of its transportation division at $1.1 billion, compared to liabilities of $680 million..

Campari intends to purchase full ownership in Lascelles for US$414.8 million or US$4.32 per ordinary share. So the final dividend could add another 25 per cent or more to the sale price of the rum company.

But it would still be a good deal less than the US$780 million Lascelles was valued at when sold in 2008 to Trinidadian conglomerate, CL Financial.



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