by Shawn Cumberbatch

Barbadians who have so far refused to sell millions of shares they own in the former Barbados National Bank to its Trinidad owners will be forced to wave their stock goodbye in the new year.

Barbados TODAY has confirmed that in a move that will see it paying out about $20 million, Republic Bank Limited is going after nearly four million Republic Bank (Barbados) Limited shares, whose owners said no to an offer to sell earlier this month.

The regional banking giant has given them until next week to either accept its $5 per share deal which Government, the National Insurance Board and others took recently, or “demand payment” of the fair value of their stock.

Additionally, in a related development the Barbados Stock Exchange announced this afternoon that in a transaction related to the Republic shares bid, an unidentified shareholder(s) sold 215,242 of their Barbados bank shares to the Trinidadians for more than $1 million.

News of the move by Republic to confirm its full ownership of its Barbados subsidiary by the end of the first week of January was communicated to “dissenting shareholders” in a December 17 offer letter from RBL’s Executive Director Nigel Baptiste.

In the correspondence copied to Barbados’ corporate registry, Republic Bank Barbados, and the Barbados Central Securities Depository the official wrote:

“As you are aware, Republic Bank Limited has successfully concluded its offer to the shareholders of Republic Bank (Barbados) Limited. RBL’s bid was to acquire all the issued and outstanding shares in RBBL and the offer price was $5 per share.

“The response was overwhelming. Shareholders holding over 90 per cent of the shares for which the bid was made, accepted the offer, and those shares have been taken up and paid for by RBL. You are one of the shareholders who did not accept RBL’s offer.

“We write to you to advise that RBL intends to, and does hereby, exercise the right conferred by section 186 of the Companies Act to acquire all the shares that you hold in the capital of RBBL,” it added.

Baptiste also notified the shareholders that if they failed to notify his organisation that they were transferring their shares to RBL in accordance with the $5 per share offer, or based on their own higher demands, they were “presumed to have elected to transfer your shares to RBL on the same terms as RBL acquired the shares from the offerees who accepted the offer”.

Today’s announcement from the local stock exchange might the sign of things to come and a bit of good news for Republic.

In a notice of a block trade transaction, the BSE stated: “The Barbados Stock Exchange Inc. wishes to advise that a block trade transaction in the shares of Republic Bank (Barbados) Limited occurred on the board of the Exchange at 10:17 a.m. on December 31, 2012 between Republic Bank Limited (Buyer) and the following parties at BDS $5.00 per share;

RBBL shareholders acceptances 215,242.

“The BSE approved this transaction in respect of item four of the BSE Block Trade Rules which states: ‘The sale and purchase of a listed security pursuant to a take-over transaction, conducted or to be conducted in accordance with the applicable laws’,” it explained.

A few weeks ago at the conclusion of his company’s share offer, which saw it on the verge of paying out $148 million to Government, the National Insurance Board, and other shareholders, Republic Managing Director, David Dulal-Whiteway, said full ownership “will allow us to deliver even greater benefits to our many loyal customers and to the wider Barbados community, through the increased streamlining of our internal reporting processes, harmonisation of our systems and procedures and will make available to the banking public a broader and more robust range of financial products and services”.

“We also intend to continue our quest to enhance the quality of life for the people of Barbados through maintenance of our Power to Make a Difference social investment programme, in our key areas of focus, namely youth development, poverty alleviation and support of the differently-abled. This award-winning programme is a main feature of our Bank in every market which we serve,” he added.

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