Home » Billionaire Michael Lee-Chin sells $9.8-million stake from Jamaica’s biggest lender

Billionaire Michael Lee-Chin sells $9.8-million stake from Jamaica’s biggest lender

NCBFG ownership shift: Michael Lee-Chin's NCBFG stake dips below 50 percent

by Omokolade Ajayi
Michael Lee-Chin

Michael Lee-Chin, the prominent Jamaican-Canadian billionaire, has divested shares worth J$1.53 billion ($9.83 million) in Kingston-based financial services conglomerate, NCB Financial Group (NCBFG). This move, marking Lee-Chin’s first sale in eight months, is part of a routine strategy to unlock value from his investment in Jamaica’s biggest bank.

Lee-Chin, through his entity AIC (Barbados) Limited, sold 22,088,688 ordinary shares of NCBFG on Feb. 26 at $69.45 ($0.446) per share. The shares were acquired by the National Insurance Fund for $1.74 billion ($11.2 million). Lee-Chin’s stake in NCBFG remains substantial at 1,235,642,254 shares or 48.54 percent of the conglomerate.

The sale comes amid NCBFG’s plans for an additional public offering (APO) aimed at issuing between 300–450 million new shares to raise over $20 billion. This initiative is intended to reduce the conglomerate’s debt balance and facilitate expansion.

NCBFG’s evolution: From 1837 roots to a $1.05-billion powerhouse

Established in April 2016, NCBFG is the financial holding company for National Commercial Bank Jamaica. With a market capitalization of J$163.17 billion ($1.05 billion) and retained earnings of J$78.44 billion ($504.34 million) as of Dec. 31, 2023, the conglomerate remains Jamaica’s largest and most profitable financial services group, tracing its roots back to 1837.

In June 2023, Lee-Chin sold 38.71 million NCBFG shares for J$2.6 billion ($16.7 million) to companies linked to Cornerstone Group founder Paul Simpson. This transaction occurred shortly after Lee-Chin’s planned leave of absence and was part of his strategy to optimize his investment portfolio, which included the earlier sale of his superyacht and other assets.

NCBFG ownership shift: Michael Lee-Chin’s NCBFG stake dips below 50 percent

Lee-Chin’s stake in NCBFG dropped below the 50 percent mark for the first time as a result of the issuance of 78,562,684 new shares to several executives in the last three months, diluting his ownership interest.

Despite the recent divestiture, Lee-Chin is poised to receive a substantial J$617.82 million ($3.95 million) dividend from NCBFG on March 18. This payout will help cover upcoming bond payments for Lee-Chin’s related entities. His latest move demonstrates continuous efforts to enhance his investment portfolio and ensure the conglomerate’s long-term growth.

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