Anthony Smart

RE-ELECTED: Chairman of First Citizens Group Financial Holdings Ltd, Anthony Smart.

 
MAJORITY State-owned First Citizens Group Financial Holdings has decided to discontinue its loan application process with the private sector arm of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for US$175 million.

In a notice of material change posted on the website of the Trinidad and Tobago Securities and Exchange Commission (TTSEC) on Friday, First Citizens said the decision to discontinue negotiations for the US$175 million loan was made noting:

• A rising interest rate environment in the United States of America and other global financial markets; and
• First Citizens has sufficient US dollar liquidity to fund its initiatives within the short to medium term.

First Citizens announced on June 27, 2022 that its board had approved a transaction to be negotiated with IDB Invest for senior, unsecured financing of up to US$175 million with a term of up to seven years.
The bank said the purpose of the financing was to support its strategy to:
• Grow its low and middle-income household mortgage portfolio;
• Implement its digital transformation and investments in digital and electronic products and services; and
• Expand its lending capability to Small and Medium Enterprises.

First Citizens also said it had entered into an agreement for technical advisory services with IDB Invest for the development of a comprehensive sustainable finance strategy to fund Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) initiatives.
In the earlier notice, the bank said it remains committed to the development of a comprehensive, sustainable finance strategy to fund its ESG goals and this process will continue.
The First Citizens notice did not state whether the agreement for technical advisory services with IDB Invest would be a factor in the strategy to fund its ESG goals.
At a special meeting of shareholders on September 28, the owners of First Citizens voted to re-elect six directors of the company for a term “expiring not later than the close of the third annual meeting” following their re-election. The six are chairman Anthony Smart and directors Courtenay Williams, Savitri Seepersad, Idrees Omardeen, Troy Garcia and Jayselle McFarlane.
The bank’s shareholders also voted to add retired accountant, Colin Wharfe, to the board and resolved that PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) should be appointed as the auditors of First Citizens.
The board decision to discontinue the loan application process with IDB Invest was taken on September 26, two days before the special meeting.
Last week’s notice was prepared by the First Citizens corporate secretary, Lindi Ballah-Tull, and is due to be published in at least two daily newspapers today.
In August, the Government’s additional public offering (APO) of shares in First Citizens closed. In the APO, the Government offered 10,869,565 shares in the bank at $50 per share, expecting to raise gross consideration of $543.47 million.
The APO received 6,698 successful applications for 16,865,007 ordinary shares for a total subscription value of $843.25 million, making the offering of shares oversubscribed by 55.2 per cent.
The APO resulted in the Government’s shareholding in First Citizens being reduced to 60.4 per cent.

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