Business

Sagicor, RBC integration to take 2 years

Friday, June 06, 2014    

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THE integration of RBC Bank Jamaica and Sagicor Group Jamaica (SGJ) will take about two years for the group to 'digest', said Richard Byles president of SGJ.

The acquisition will capture the imagination of executives over the period.

"The acquisition of RBC Jamaica and the merger with Sagicor Bank is our major investment and it will take two yeas to fully digest this acquisition," Byles told shareholders at the annual general meeting held at Sagicor headquarters in New Kingston on Tuesday. "By that I mean, actually owning the company is one thing but putting it together is another. Getting the technology and the systems going is a third thing and those challenges take time."

Sagicor announced in January that it would acquire RBC bank for $9 billion which closely reflects the book value of the Jamaica operations. Royal Bank of Canada shortly thereafter stated that it would take a CAD$60 million ($5.9 billion) loss on the sale of its Jamaican operations to SGJ.

The local RBC operations recorded over $9 billion in losses over the past four-and-a- half years mainly due to bad debts. The lack of profitability prompted RBC Jamaica's parent to inject close to $5 billion into it in exchange for new ordinary and preference shares since December 2011. The bank since last May closed four of its branches, leaving 13 open, and cut its workforce by 10 per cent.

"We don't as yet have approval from the Bank of Jamaica, but we have made an application," added Byles. "This is what is going to occupy our attention and focus largely going towards the next year and two years."

Vocal minority shareholder Orette Staple lauded the group's results but lamented on the impotence of small shareholders.

"The media and management do not give the space and the time for minority shareholders. I think that management and media should respect our participation in these meeting. I would like to see management to take our thoughts into consideration when making decisions," he appealed to the meeting attended by roughly 100 shareholders.

Sagicor ended its financial year with $6.29 billion net profit with equity of $35.9 billion. Its the 14th straight year of improved profits,

said Byles.

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