Mon | Nov 19, 2018

GraceKennedy to grow financial footprint through Signia

Published:Wednesday | September 12, 2018 | 12:02 AMNeville Graham/Business Reporter
Don Wehby, Group CEO of GraceKennedy Limited.

Having finalised the acquisition Globe Finance Inc and its merger with Signia Financial Group Inc, GraceKennedy now says it has a vehicle to grow its financial footprint across the eastern Caribbean.

Barbados-owned Signia is a tri-nation partnership, jointly owned by conglomerates GraceKennedy of Barbados and Cave Shepherd & Company of Barbados, each controlling 40 per cent, while Massey Holdings of Trinidad owns the other 20 per cent.

Globe was the second largest merchant bank in Barbados prior to its acquisition from previous owners Sagicor Financial Corporation and Goddard Enterprises Limited. Its merger with Signia cements that company's status as the largest merchant banking outfit in Barbados. The amalgamated company will be known as SigniaGlobe Financial Group Inc.

The merger was initially disclosed by GraceKenendy in February, and finalised last week, on September 6.

"From there we are also looking any other opportunities in the Eastern Caribbean and that will be one of the objectives of the merged entity," Wehby said.

Asked whether a commercial bank was on the cards, Wehby would not rule it out.

"It is early days yet but we will be looking at all options in terms of financial services in the Caribbean," he said.

"We have seen through our due diligence that there are great opportunities to grow organically, but we also see other opportunities to grow in the eastern Caribbean whether by greenfield or further acquisition," he added.

Signia and Globe have several common product offerings, including fixed deposits, retail and commercial lending, commercial leasing and foreign exchange services. Signia is also a registered stockbroker, licensed by the Barbados Stock Exchange.

The Globe-Signia transaction was estimated as a BDS$11.8 million deal. GK Capital Management Limited, the investment and advisory arm of GraceKennedy, advised Signia in the transaction.

Based on their financial results at December 2017, the two entities have combined deposits of BDS$351.5 million and loans of BDS$339.8 million.

neville.graham@gleanerjm.com