Trident Insurance is now 100 per cent Bajan owned and operated.
However, it was not clear whether the company’s majority shareholder, locally-owned Leacock Group, had set out to buy out the 30 per cent stake that Jamaican conglomerate GraceKennedy held in the company, or if GraceKennedy simply shed its interest in the insurance company.
Both companies have issued statements on the sale, with the Leacock Group stating it was a strategic decision to purchase the remaining shares, while the Jamaican company said it had divested its shares as part of its expansion strategy.
Chief Executive Officer of the Leacock Group Algernon Leacock said the purchase would allow the 38-year-old company to “make changes and enter into partnerships required for today’s changing marketplace”.
“Given the changing dynamics and pressures in the general insurance market, the Leacock Group decided it would be in their best interests to consolidate their holdings in Trident at this time, and to prepare the company for the consolidation and expansion opportunities occurring within the general insurance industry in Barbados and [the] Eastern Caribbean,” he said.
“We are grateful to the GraceKennedy group for the years of partnership that began under Douglas Orane. It is, however, in the best interests of both parties to pursue differing strategies at this time.”
The insurance executive added that while the transfer of shares, which was completed on Monday, would necessitate changes at the board level, it would have absolutely no impact on the ongoing operations of Trident Insurance.
“Our operations comprising of strong board governance, prudent management, sound reinsurance security and arrangements, and maintaining our enviable track record of excellence in customer service, will continue without interruption. This strategic buyout is another step in our evolution as a leading general insurance company in the marketplace,” Leacock added.
Meantime, GraceKennedy said it expected to record a gain on the sale of the shares that it acquired back in 2007. The Jamaica Gleaner reported that the company sold the shares for just over BDS$800,000.
Chief Executive Officer Don Wehby said the company “continue to review our partnerships and investments in keeping with our long-term strategy, and our thinking around disposal of this asset aligned with Trident’s own interests and plans”.
GraceKennedy still maintains a significant investment in Barbados’ financial sector through the Signia Financial Group, and said it continued to look for opportunities to expand its operations here and in the Eastern Caribbean.