Heritage Bank Limited Clarifies Misleading Reports on Share Sale
Curiosity and concerns ran high last night when the possible sale of Heritage Bank Limited made it on the news circuit. Investors, employees and members of the business sector were reaching out to the Board for clarity, as this was the first they were hearing of the sale. It turns out, however, that the reports were misguided. After seeking clarity from the bank’s General Manager, Stephen Duncan, we found out that, yes, there are 37 percent of shares up for sale, but it is from the Heritage International Bank, and not the domestic facility. Duncan made a special appearance on The Morning Show today to set the record straight.
Stephen Duncan, General Manager: “I can say categorically that the bank is not being sold. So I can start there.”
Ernesto Vasquez, Host, The Morning Show: That’s for certain at this point in time ?
Stephen Duncan, General Manager: “That’s for certain as I sit here today talking with you. The bank is not being sold. I will quickly add though that what could have triggered the rumor is that there is a block of shares held by an overseas bank which that bank which is to be sold. Now I need to give you the genesis of that. When Glen Godfrey and his wife first established the Provident Bank back in 1998 there was a bank out of Antigua who which helped them with the establishment of the Provident Bank. That bank held shares in Provident Bank. Over the years it increased to roughly 37% of the shares of the Provident Bank which became subsequently Heritage International Bank not the domestic bank.”
Aside from setting the record straight, Duncan went on to explain the history of both the international and the domestic facilities, and how the shares became available for sale.
Stephen Duncan, General Manager: “We have two licenses in Belize there is an international license and a domestic license. Heritage International Bank is sort of the successor to what was Provident Bank and Heritage Bank Limited the domestic bank is the successor to what used to be Alliance Bank Limited. That Provident Bank you had this overseas back which had helped Glen Godfrey to establish Provident Bank the name of that overseas bank is The Antigua Overseas Bank AOB. So that institution owns a block of shares roughly representing 37% of the shareholding in Heritage International Bank. So that bank in Antigua went into receivership about ten years ago and it is now being liquidated. The liquidator is desirous of selling those shares which is probably one of the most valuable assets that bank holds and they’re desious of selling that asset, that asset being 37% of the shares of Heritage International Bank. So yes the liquidator in Antigua wants to sell those shares. We have no direct input into that.”
Ernesto Vasquez, Host, The Morning Show: When you say we you’re talking about Heritage–
Stephen Duncan, General Manager: “Here in Belize. Those shares are already there. They’re owned by an entity and that entity wants to sell its shares. It’s like if you own shares in BTL and you want to sell BTL’s shares you find somebody to buy it from you. So if that block of shares is sold who purchases it will not control either of the two banks. The existing majority shareholder would remain in place and the existing majority shareholders have no intention and no desire to sell their shares and I can say to you that no meeting has been held with I gather the news item suggested the Lord Ashcroft Group around selling those shares. There’s been no discussion with them around that, no meeting held with them around that.”
Heritage Bank Limited was incorporated in the Laws of Belize in December 1999.