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Sagicor to pay dividends to holders of less than 1% shares

Sagicor Group Jamaica says it intends to pay out declared dividends to shareholders of one per cent or less as at April 24.

Previously, the company said it would postpone the declared dividend payment of 40 cents per stock unit on a recommendation by the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) to all financial holdings company.

In a statement to the Jamaica Stock Exchange yesterday, May 19, Sagicor said the intent to pay dividends is subject to the consent of its shareholders who hold more than one per cent of its shares. That approval is now being sought.

Regarding its intent, Sagicor said the BOJ has indicated it will not object should the company decide to pay dividends to shareholders with one per cent or less shareholdings.

The Bank of Jamaica building in downtown Kingston. (File photo)

Chairman of Sagicor Group Jamaica, Peter Melhado, 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.”

Further, Melhado said “our funding and liquidity position will comfortably allow us to support the payout of the previously announced dividend to all other shareholders of record as of April 24, 2020, as soon as the Bank of Jamaica advises that it is appropriate.”

On May 14, Jamaica’s central bank said it had sought and 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.