Another no dividend payment announced by NCBWednesday, April 07, 2021
BY DURRANT PATE
It is now official, National Commercial Banks (NCB) shareholders will go an entire year without a dividend, as the board has just announced that there will be no interim dividend payment for the March quarter.
The board will meet on April 29, 2021 to consider and approve the release of the bank's unaudited financial statements for the six months ended March 31, 2021. It is not proposed to have the declaration of a dividend considered at this meeting.
This represents a continuation of its no dividend payment, which occurred for the last four quarters. Only one dividend payment was received by shareholders in 2020, which was made last March and was for the first quarter of 2020.
Since then shareholders of NCB, regarded as the largest and most profitable financial services group in Jamaica with roots dating back to 1837, have been hard hit by COVID-19, as shareholders have watched their investments being depleted with the stock price losing value, particularly during the early onset of the pandemic while not getting any dividend in the last year on their investment. The last interim dividend payment received was approved by the board last January when it declared an interim dividend of $1.00 per ordinary stock unit.
LAST DIVIDEND PAYMENT
The March 2, 2020 dividend payment was made to stockholders on record as at February 14, 2020. At its board meeting on April 30, 2020, the director decided not to declare an interim dividend for the April quarter due to the prevailing circumstances arising from the coronavirus pandemic.
The board at that time declared that subject to the occurrence of any relevant changes, it would be unlikely to declare interim dividends for the remainder of the financial year which ended in September 2020 and as such, no dividend was declared for the rest of 2020. But this is now being extended to the second quarter of the 2021 financial year, which runs from December 2020 to March 2021
NCB recorded a 36 per cent decline in net profits attributable to shareholders for its 2020 financial year. With great uncertainty as a result of COVID-19, the banking group has decided to focus on building its liquidity and remaining sufficiently capitalised to tackle the new business environment.
One of the means to retain capital has come from NCB not paying a dividend since the pandemic started. Despite the Bank of Jamaica giving reprieve to financial holding companies to pay shareholders who own less than one per cent of the shares, NCB's Deputy CEO Dennis Cohen revealed that the company didn't receive unanimous approval from their 11 shareholders, who own more than one per cent of the issued shares.
NCB has more than 44,000 shareholders, who received part of the $5.4 billion paid during 2020 compared to the $8.3 billion paid in the prior financial year. The NCB Group includes NCB Jamaica, NCB Capital Markets Limited and its subsidiaries in Barbados and Cayman; NCB Insurance Agency and Fund Managers Limited; NCB (Cayman) Limited; Clarien Group Limited and its subsidiaries in Bermuda; Guardian Holdings Limited and its subsidiaries; as well as NCB Global Finance Limited in Trinidad and Tobago.
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