Local conglomerate, Banks DIH Limited has confirmed the sale of its over 4.3 million shares in Banks Holdings Barbados to SLU Beverages Limited of St Lucia.
The sale took place on December 2, 2015 as Banks Barbados faced a possible buy out by Trinidad and Tobago beverage giants, Ansa McAl Limited.
The move by Banks DIH to sell its 6.7% stake in Banks Barbados to SLU Beverages effectively blocked the move by Ansa McAl to buy out shares and take over the company. SLU Beverages is a St Lucian registered company that had been fiercely competing against Ansa McAl for a greater stake in Banks Holdings Limited, Barbados.
In defending its decision to sell out its shares, Banks DIH Limited has explained that back in 2005, it signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Banks Holdings Barbados.
That memorandum stipulated that “Banks D.I.H. Limited may not dispose of the shares it possesses in Banks Holdings Limited as a result of this share transfer unless the first option to purchase those shares has been offered to Banks Holdings Limited. (vi) Banks Holdings Limited may not dispose of the shares it possesses in Banks D.I.H. Limited as a result of this share transfer unless the first option to purchase those shares has been offered to Banks D.I.H. Limited.”
In keeping with that agreement, Banks DIH offered to sell its shares to Banks Holdings Limited. The Barbados company had no interest in repurchasing the shares and that cleared the way for the shares to be sold to the St. Lucian company.
In a statement issued this evening, Banks DIH explained that at the time it sold its shares in Banks Holdings Barbados, the St. Lucian company already had 40.3% of the issued capital of the Barbadian company and with the purchase of the 6.7% held by Banks DIH, its stake in the company climbed to 47% .
Although, its move has been described as a “master stroke” and one that blocked the Ansa McAl buy out, Banks DIH is adamant that its sale did not seal the deal for SLU acquiring majority ownership of Banks Holdings Limited Barbados.
The Directors of Banks DIH believe that the sale of its shareholding in BHL was both financially and commercially advantageous and will increase shareholder value in Banks DIH Limited. “Throughout the whole process of the takeover battle for BHL, the directors of BDIH were guided by the Company’s financial and legal advisors”, the release said.
Back in 2004, there was an attempt by Ansa McAl to buy up shares in Banks DIH Limited. It was Banks Holdings Barbados that eventually bought up shares and forced Ansa McAl to back off of the attempt to buy out shares.
Banks DIH Limited is one of Guyana’s most successful companies. It has been enjoying hefty profits for over a decade.