(PRESS RELEASE) — President of Republic Financial Holdings Limited (RFHL), Nigel Baptiste, announced today a profit attributable to shareholders of the parent of US$81.7 million for the six-month period ended March 31, 2020, a decline of US$36.1 million or 30.6% below the corresponding period last year.
These results reflect preliminary estimates of the financial impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the Group as a result of increased operating expenses during the latter half of March 2020 and the setting aside of additional provisions of US$55.3 million for the first half of Fiscal 2020 (2019 – US$20.3 million) to cover potential future losses.
Mr. Baptiste advised that total assets stood at US$14.8 billion at March 31, 2020, an increase of US$2.3 billion or 17.9% over the total assets at March 31, 2019, reflecting mainly the acquisition of Scotiabank’s operations in St. Maarten and the Eastern Caribbean (except Antigua and Barbuda) on November 1, 2019, which added US$1.9 billion to the Group’s asset base. The acquisition of Scotiabank’s banking operations in the British Virgin Islands remains ongoing, with the Group presently engaged with the regulator in that territory to obtain the requisite approval.
Mr. Baptiste said, “Cognizant of our responsibility to help our clients, staff, and communities navigate these unique challenges, the Group instituted several measures, including loan payment moratoriums, waiver of fees and charges, and interest rate reductions on loans and advances including credit cards. The Group has also contributed a total of US$2M to national COVID-19 initiatives across the territories in which we operate.”
Stressing the importance of a prudent approach given the many uncertainties as a result of the current pandemic, Mr. Baptiste went on to say, “Notwithstanding the public health measures implemented to date, there is uncertainty globally in respect of the intensity and duration of this crisis, and it is unclear what the social, economic and market conditions will be like once the crisis is over. Prudence requires, therefore, that financial institutions adopt a defensive posture to preserve the stability of individual institutions and the integrity of the overall financial system. Therefore, until the full repercussions are clearer, and to preserve the capital available to the Group, the Board of Directors has declared a reduced interim dividend of US$0.09 (2019: US$0.19) per share payable on June 5, 2020.”
In closing, Mr. Baptiste added, “Republic Financial Holdings is well-placed to make a major contribution to the regional recovery effort and is fully committed to doing so. We will seek to balance the interests of all our stakeholders as we all shoulder the responsibility of restoring sustainable growth to the territories in which we operate.”