Mon | Oct 16, 2017

Still no answers on mandatory offer for C&WJ minority owners

Published:Friday | September 8, 2017 | 12:00 AM
President of Cable & Wireless Caribbean and director of Cable & Wireless Jamaica, Garfield Sinclair speaks to fellow director Dr Carolyn Hayles at the Jamaican telecom's annual general meeting in Kingston on Wednesday, September 6, 2017.

Garfield Sinclair, president of the Caribbean operations for Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC), acknowledged that parent company Liberty Global will acquire minority shares in C&W Barbados, but remained silent on parallel implications for the Jamaica operations.

Let Liberty Global respond, he said on Wednesday at the Cable & Wireless Jamaica, C&WJ, annual general meeting in New Kingston.

"That is certainly above the pay grade of the management of this board to respond," said Sinclair in response to a query on whether Liberty would buy out C&WJ minority shareholders.

Barbados shareholders are said to have approved an offer from Liberty at the C&W Barbados annual meeting last month.

"That is public knowledge. I was at the AGM where they were successful. They did it in a transaction where they set up another company and did the amalgamation," said Sinclair, who is also a member of the C&WJ board.

"They amalgamated the new company with the existing one, which had the effect of taking the company private and buying out minority shareholders in C&W Barbados," he said.

Jamaica's Financial Services Commission had been pushing for Liberty to buy out C&WJ minority shares, but the issue is now the subject of litigation. Liberty Global previously declined to say what it is asking the courts to determine, and there is otherwise a blockade on public disclosures surrounding the case.

Last year, Liberty acquired full control of CWC, which gave it a 77.1 per cent stake in C&WJ. Companies are required to make a mandatory takeover offer for minority shares once they obtain majority shares in a listed company. But the indirect control of C&WJ by Liberty falls within a grey area.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com