BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – THE Caribbean Competitions Commission has raised concerns over the sale of Scotia Bank to Republic Holdings in three of the eight territories.
In November, Republic Holdings Limited announced that it had purchased Scotia Bank operations in Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, and St Vincent and the Grenadines for US$123M.
According to reports, the price includes US$25M for the total shareholding of Scotiabank Anguilla Limited, and US$98M for the operations in the other eight countries.
In a statement, the Commission informed that it has completed a preliminary assessment pursuant to Article 173(2)(a) of the RTC.
The statement noted the assessment indicates that the proposed transaction or parts thereof could possibly have “anticompetitive effects in at least three (3) Member States in the Community”.
The Commission however did not provide the names of the Member States that the “anticompetitive effects” would have an impact.
“The Commission remains cognizant of the provisions of Article 175 of the RTC, and at this time reminds national competition authorities and Member States of this critical provision. The Commission also informs that it shall approach those national competition authorities and sector regulators in affected Member States in accordance with Article 176(1), for the conduct of preliminary examinations of proposed transaction between the enterprises,” the statement said.
According to the CCC, in furtherance of its commitment to fair and transparent processes for both the business community and consumers, the Commission will continue to monitor the activity in the Community and will inform as appropriate on further progress of the matter in affected Member States.
Some regional leaders have expressed mixed views on the matter.
Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister, Gaston Browne has been critical of the sale, saying: “I am further deeply concerned that the Bank of Nova Scotia would spring such an important decision on the people of Antigua and Barbuda, particularly its many clients who have displayed great loyalty to the bank for almost 50 years…
“Should the Bank of Nova Scotia wish to divest its operations in Antigua and Barbuda, it would be necessary to seek the Government’s approval.”
However, Grenada’s Prime Minister, Keith Mitchell is in support of the sale.