NCB Financial Group's headquarters on Trafalgar Road in New Kingston, Jamaica (Photo: Denis Brown)

COVID weighs heavily on NCB

NCB Financial Group's headquarters on Trafalgar Road in New Kingston, Jamaica (Photo: Denis Brown)

Lockdowns in J’ca, T&T impact performance

Ravaged by lockdowns induced by the novel coronavirus pandemic, NCB Financial Group (NCBFG) yesterday reported its net profit dipped 25 per cent during its just-concluded financial year. The conglomerate’s financial year ended on September 30.

The financial conglomerate reported profit of JM$20.1 billion. Dragging on its performance was an underperforming insurance segment. NCBFG, in notes accompanying its financials released late yesterday to the stock exchange, said “reduced activities due to COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns in Trinidad and Tobago during the financial year saw that segment’s contribution falling 29 per cent”.

An aerial view of Port of Spain Trinidad and Tobago. COVID-19-related lockdowns and restrictions in Trinidad and Tobago contributed to a decline in NCB Financial Group’s profits for 2021. (Photo: london.ac.uk)

Another factor dragging on NCBFG was the lockdowns in Jamaica, which impacted spending and, by extension, its banking and investment segment. The segment showed improvement, but was not as robust as the company had forecast, especially on the banking side. Its investment business benefited from improvements in the prices of securities and investment activities compared to last year when prices declined due mainly to the onset of the pandemic in the Caribbean. The favourable price movements resulted in increased gains from the sale of debt securities and market to market valuations. This helped to push the investment business’ contribution up by JM$14 billion. Overall, the net result from the company’s banking and investments segment was a JM$22-billion improvement to JM$908 billion.

NCB Financial Group’s loss in market capitalisation will weigh on the net worth of Chairman Michael Lee-Chin.
(Photo: blackwallet.com)

However, that was not enough to move the board, at its meeting held yesterday, to declare a dividend for the second-consecutive quarter. NCBFG last declared a JM$0.50 share dividend at its board meeting held in April this year.

The impact is, however, not only being felt in the company’s performance. Since the start of the year, the NCBFG has lost 16 per cent or JM$57 billion of its value. More than half of the decline weighs on the net worth of its chairman, Michael Lee Chin. At the close of trading yesterday, the group — by market capitalisation — was valued at JM$296 billion. That is down from the JM$353-billion valuation the company had at the start of the year.