Government increases ownership limit in RJR broadcast licences
A recent anuual general meeting of the RJR Group.
Paving way for anticipated APO

The Government has formally approved an increase in the ownership limit of the broadcasting licences issued to Radio Jamaica Limited (RJR), thus paving the way for the company's additional public offer (APO) slated for later this year.

The current ownership limit of 10 per cent by any single entity or individual has been increased to 21 per cent. This increase has been recommended by the island's broadcasting regulator, the Broadcasting Commission, and has been accepted by the portfolio minister, Fayval Williams, who has stewardship of the information ministry, which supervises the commission.

Minister Williams has already communicated to RJR the Government's decision to approve changes to the ownership limits of its broadcast licences. RJR has been waiting on this move as a precursor to returning to the equities market.

In preparation for this return to the market, RJR shareholders voted in favour of an amendment to the media group's articles of incorporation to increase from 10 per cent to at least 21 per cent the maximum percentage of ordinary shares which any one person may hold in the company. This was done at the company's annual general meeting (AGM) held last October.

At present none of the top-10 shareholders in RJR owns more than 8 per cent in the media group.

The top-10 shareholders are led by Perseverance Limited with a 7.24 per cent stake of 175.5 million shares followed by Financial & Advisory Services Limited, currently owning 6.8 per cent or 164.8 million shares and Gracekennedy Pension Fund Custodian Limited rounding off the top three with 6.6 per cent, owning 160.3 million shares.

The top-10 shareholders collectively own approximately 46.25 per cent of the company's issued share capital. Shareholders at last October's AGM also approved an increase in the authorised share capital from 2.42 billion shares to 3.63 billion shares.

This represents a 50 per cent increase in share capital or 1.21 billion new shares. With this increase in the share capital the company can move to offer new shares to raise the much-needed capital to carry out its development and expansion programme.

At the company's current price of $1.50, a possible equity raise from the likely 1.21 billion shares that would be offered would yield about $1.70 billion with a slight discount to the current market price.

BY DURRANT PATE Observer business writer

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