Business

CariCRIS gives NCBFG top nod

Sunday, October 29, 2017

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The Caribbean Information and Credit Rating Services Limited (CariCRIS) has assigned NCB Financial Group Ltd (NCBFG) an initial rating of 'jmAAA' with a stable outlook.

The Caribbean-based rating agency gives an objective assessment of an entity's creditworthiness relative to that of other debt-issuing entities. It provides ratings at both the regional and national levels.

On the national scale, NCBFG received a 'jmAAA' and 'jmAA+' for local and foreign currencies, respectively. On the regional scale, the organisation received a 'CariA' and 'CariA-' for the local and foreign currency rating.

According to CariCRIS, “the stable outlook is based on our expectation that the NCB Financial Group's financial performance will continue to be strong over the next 12-15 months, as the loan portfolio of the Group's banking subsidiary, National Commercial Bank (NCB), continues to expand as a result of improved economic activity in Jamaica.”

NCB's triple A rating follows on strong ratings for the bank and two of its subsidiaries, NCB Capital Markets Ltd and NCB Cayman Ltd earlier this year. It also enables the company to offer investment grade instruments to various types of investors.

NCBFG, the holding company of the NCB, says the CariCRIS rating comes at a time when the group is steadily pursuing growth opportunities both in the local and regional marketplace.

“Given our strategic aspiration to expand regionally, this rating creates additional opportunities to access international debt markets, allowing the organisation to fund growth prospects to the benefit of our customers, shareholders and business partners,” stated Patrick Hylton, NCBFG's President and Group Chief Executive Officer.

“Recently, we offered an NCBFG Bond for USD $105 million with a coupon of seven per cent for a term of five years to accredited investors. This rating now allows us to offer investment options to a wider pool of investors outside of the high net worth space, giving all investors a chance to participate,” Hylton said.

Hylton pointed out that the bond should appeal to investors looking for more lucrative investment options, and serves to capitalise on the current USD liquidity in the local market. The NCBFG Bond, arranged by NCB Capital Markets, opened October 1, 2017 and will close in a few days.

NCBFG was listed on the Jamaica Stock Exchange in March of this year after shareholders of NCBFG and NCBJ approved a Scheme of Arrangement under which NCBJ shareholders at the time gave up their shares for shares in NCBFG and NCBJ became a wholly owned subsidiary of NCBFG.

The conglomerate has a 29.99 per cent stake in the Guardian Holdings Ltd, acquired in May 2016. The NCB Group has operations in Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados and the Cayman Islands. In addition to core banking, the Group lists wealth management services as well as both life and general insurance among its business lines.

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