Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Jamaican government to sell 122m Seprod shares

Published:Thursday | March 24, 2016 | 3:00 AMNeville Graham
Seprod Limited's complex at Marcus Garvey Drive in Kingston.

Government is to identity a broker to structure the sale of a part of its stake in manufacturing conglomerate Seprod Limited, Financial Secretary Devon Rowe indicated on Wednesday.

The government owns 163.42 million shares through the Coconut Industry Board, but plans to dispose of 122.5 million shares or 75 per cent of those holdings.

Information Minister Ruel Reid announced Cabinet's approval of the sale at a media briefing this week, saying the proceeds would be "paid to the Accountant General as a special distribution in keeping with the financial distribution policy for public bodies".

At Seprod's current trading price of $18.50, the shares on sale are worth $2.27 billion.

With the sale, Coconut Industry Board's ownership in Seprod will fall from 31.65 per cent to 7.9 per cent. The government has not said its reasons for holding on to some of the shares.

The other top owners of the stock include: Musson Jamaica, with 45 per cent holdings; GraceKennedy Pension Scheme, 4.25 per cent; and National Insurance Fund, 2.99 per cent.

There was no word from the principals at Musson as to what is their next move. Chief Financial Officer Dr Nigel Clarke did not immediately respond to a query from the Financial Gleaner, but it is understood that the issue is expected to be discussed at the next Musson board meeting.

Seprod's 2015 results are pending, but the company has averaged $1 billion in yearly profit in the previous two years. Seprod racked up nearly $15 billion of sales in 2014 and was valued at $14 billion by assets.

neville.graham@gleanerjm.com