Latest talks with Scotiabank ‘very positive,’ PM Browne says

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Prime Minister Gaston Browne is promising a “positive solution” to the on-going issue over the planned sale of Scotiabank branches in Antigua.

Last November, Trinidad-based Republic Financial Holdings Limited (RFH) announced that it was seeking to acquire Scotiabank operations in several Caribbean countries.

But Antigua and Barbuda expressed reservations about the proposed acquisition, with St. John’s indicating that it would not be issuing a vesting order to facilitate the move.

“Sir Ron [Sanders] and I also met with the officials of Scotiabank in Canada a few days ago,” Browne said on Saturday.

“I’m not at liberty to give any details of those discussions, but I can say definitively the talks were very positive and that the matter will be settled within a matter of weeks, and it will be settled to the satisfaction of all stakeholders, to include the customers, the staff at Scotiabank and the Government and people of Antigua and Barbuda.

“Notwithstanding all of the naysayers, all of the predictions of doom and gloom, I have to say that we have come to a positive solution on the way forward, which will be announced in due course,” Browne added.

PM Browne’s administration’s position has always been that any sale should be made to an appropriate vehicle comprising substantial local ownership.

The RFH November statement said that the banks being acquired are located in Guyana, St. Maarten, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

It said that the purchase price is US$123 million, which represents US$25 million consideration for total shareholding of Scotiabank Anguilla Limited; and a premium of US$98 million over net asset value for operations in the remaining eight countries.

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