BELIZE CITY, Mon. June 22, 2020– On Monday, June 22, Scotia Bank Belize (SBL) made the announcement that they sold their licensed Belize banking operations to Caribbean Investment Holdings Limited (CIHL) – the parent company of the Belize Bank Limited, owned by Lord Michael Ashcroft.
Caribbean Investment Holdings (CIHL) posted their agreement to acquire Scotia Bank Belize, which priced the acquisition at an initial US$30.5 million, which includes the expected shareholders’ equity at US$28.5 million and a premium of US$1.5 million. CIHL may be required to pay an additional US$4.5 million in the event that the shareholders’ equity of SBL exceeds US$28.5 million.
According to a press release issued by Scotia Bank Belize, the ownership of the institution is the only aspect of the banking operation that will change once the transaction closes. All employees are expected to keep their jobs for at least one year after the transaction is closed and “all operations, branches and products will continue to operate as usual.”
Apart from the Belize Bank Limited, Caribbean Investment Holdings Limited’s subsidiaries include Belize Bank International Limited and Belize Corporate Services, which are licensed by the International Financial Services Commission of Belize to provide international financial services.
The acquisition, which is still pending approval from the Central Bank of Belize, will give CIHL and Lord Ashcroft control of a significantly larger portion of Belize’s commercial banking sector.
The Governor of the Central Bank, Joy Grant, has appeared in a virtual address stating that the Central Bank has been notified officially of the agreement of acquisition of SBL by CIHL. Governor Grant stated that the agreement signifies an impending merger of the two domestic banks and stressed the Central Bank’s intentions of maintaining diligent oversight throughout the proceedings:
“While the transaction is commercial in nature between the two private companies, it is the Central Banks’ overarching interest, indeed our sacred mandate, to safeguard the monetary and financial system’s stability and to protect the Belizean dollar for the wellbeing of Belize. This we will ensure. I want to assure the public that the Central Bank will endeavor to make the transition seamless,” Governor Grant said.
According to Grant, the acquisition process should not affect the way customers currently access their monies at Scotia Bank. She commended both parties involved for their promise of good faith and their confidence in taking part in the acquisition.
Grant also stated that the Central Bank will launch a customer satisfaction unit to respond to client complaints about Belize’s financial sector and banking industry. Additionally, the bank’s financial inclusion strategy, which is reportedly on its way to implementation, should “transpose thousands of Belizeans from the margins of the economy into a growing and vibrant financial system.”