Sagicor gets shareholder approval to pay dividends next week

Sagicor Group Jamaica has received shareholder approval to pay out dividends to those holding one per cent or less of issued shares on Thursday, June 11, 2020.

The announced dividend payment will apply to shareholders who, as at April 24, 2020, held no more than one per cent of the company’s shares.

Sagicor had said it would postpone dividend payment of 40 cents per stock unit upon a recommendation sent by the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) to all financial holding companies.

The BOJ subsequently said it would not object to Sagicor’s pay-out. However, that payout was subject to approval from shareholders of more than one per cent of its shares, which the financial institution informed the Jamaica Stock Exchange it was seeking two weeks ago.

Chairman of Sagicor Group Jamaica, Peter Melhado, on May 19 said, “Many of our small shareholders were adversely impacted and we are therefore very pleased with the latest decision by the Bank of Jamaica in conjunction with the Jamaica Stock Exchange.”

Regarding the company’s decision to pay dividends amid the economic impact of the coronavirus, Melhado said Sagicor’s “funding and liquidity position will comfortably allow us to support the payout of the previously announced dividend to all shareholders on record as of April 24, 2020…”

On May 14, the BOJ said it received agreement from financial holding companies and deposit taking institutions to postpone dividends declared for the 2019 and 2020 financial years. However, the BOJ said it would make exception to shareholders owning one per cent of less of issued shares for both years.

The initial move to postpone dividends was due to the need for liquidity by financial institutions which have been affected by the novel coronavirus since mid-March. Additionally, the postponement will help to conserve capital and enhance lending and loss absorption capacities given challenges that bank customers will face in servicing loans in light of the economic fallout.