Business

Guardian to complete sale of Island Village stake before year end

Wednesday, April 30, 2014    

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GUARDIAN Life Limited (GLL) expects to complete the sale of its stake in the Island Village shopping centre in Ocho Rios by year end.

The insurance company had already listed its 24 per cent shareholding in Ocho Rios Beach Limited, the owners and operators

of the property in St Ann, as an "held for sale" asset in its 2012 audited financial statements.

It thought that the sale would have been finalised on February 17, but the transaction hasn't been completed as yet.

Guardian previously made an impairment provision of $38 million based on a US$60-a-share offer made by an undisclosed bidder two years ago, which was a good deal lower than the near US$2 million it paid for its 25,000 shares. It now holds 24,000 shares which it values at US$1.4 million.

The insurer's interest in the property is available for immediate sale in its present condition, according to Guardian, which stressed that it's not abandoning the property, but is focusing on its core business in Jamaica.

GLL posted $2 billion net profit for 2013, reflecting a 64.7 per cent increase in its bottom line over the previous year.

The company chalked up its improvement in performance to higher levels of efficiencies, particularly its tight control of operating expenses, which totalled $2.1 billion, or 2.2 per cent higher than the year before.

The company's asset base stood at $54.1 billion at the end of 2013, up from $49.7 billion a year earlier.

Growth in assets reflected a $2 billion rise in cash and cash equivalents to $5.6 billion as at December 31, 2013, while loans and receivables climbed from $1.4 billion to $2.3 billion and the value of the insurer's equity securities rose from $1.3 billion at the end of 2012 to $2.2 billion at the end of last year.

GLL also saw its taxation recoverable grow over the year from $1.3 billion to $2 billion.

Eric Hosin, GLL's president, said that, in order to stay solvent, an insurer must not only have enough assets to cover its liabilities but strong asset classes as well.

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