Sun | Feb 23, 2020

NCB-managed pension fund snaps up Student Living shares

Published:Friday | January 11, 2019 | 12:00 AM
In this January 5, 2018 photo, a student walks by the Gerald Lalor flats at UWI Mona, one of the projects undertaken by 138 Student Living Jamaica.
John Lee, chairman of 138 Student Living Jamaica Limited.

The John Lee-controlled K Limited continues to sell down its holdings in 138 Student Living (138SL) with roughly $260 million sold to a pension fund managed by NCB Insurance Company, NCBIC, according to market data on the housing developer.

"I am not involved in the day-to-day operations at the company," 138SL founder John Lee told the Financial Gleaner. However, he declined to discuss the sale of shares by K Limited.

138 Student Living develops housing for college students at The University of the West Indies, Mona. Its initial public offering was done in December 2014 and then it listed 414 million units at $4 each on the Jamaica Stock Exchange.

The Latest data up to September 2018 indicate that K Limited held 68.8 million units compared to 136.7 million in March 2018. Back in 2014, after the initial public offering, K Limited held 228.9 million shares, or 55 per cent of the total shares.

The data on the trade was revealed days ago in the release of the top shareholders as at September 2018. The actual trade occurred on September 5, where some 67 million units in 138 Student Living was sold at roughly $3.80 each. The Financial Gleaner flagged the trade in September but did not get confirmation on the buyer, having contacted board members. Chairman of 138SL Richard Byles has so far not responded to text messages querying the sale of the shares.

"The shares are owned by one of the pension funds under NCBIC's management and not by NCBIC itself," stated NCB in response to Financial Gleaner queries.

The pension fund now holds 19.9 per cent of the shares, or 82.8 million units, as at September 2018. The acquisition in September added on pre-existing shares held by the pension fund.

"The decision to undertake such a large investment was a strategic decision by the pension fund trustees," stated NCB, when asked why the pension fund trustees decided to invest in the company.

The pension fund shareholding, at 19.98 per cent, makes it the second-largest shareholder behind Sagicor, with 40.47 per cent, or 167.7 million units, as at September 2018.

The remaining large shareholders include K Limited, which held 16.6 per cent of 138 Student Living, or 68.8 million units, up to September 2018. Barita Investments holds 6.47 per cent or 26.8 million units. Wisynco Group pension fund still holds 10 million units or 2.4 per cent, Barrington Phillip Brown holds 7.78 million units, JMMB Pension Fund holds 3.77 million units, MF&G Trust & Finance 3.76 million units and Delvert Wallace and Diana Wallace hold 2.7 million units.

Since March 2018 - three sets of shareholders sold down shares - First Caribbean International Securities account Barita real estate portfolio, Helene Beach and Patricia McIntosh. The exact amount sold down by each remains undisclosed as the market data only accounted for the top 10 shareholders as at September 2018.