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CL Financial to reap millions from Lascelles dividend
Majority State-controlled Jamaican rum producer, Lascelles deMercado, on Tuesday declared after tax profits of $417.5 million (J$5.8 billion) for the nine-month period ending June 30, and the company is expected to pay out $216.4 million (J$3 billion) in dividends to its shareholders this month.
Of the dividend payment, which is equal to about 52 per cent of the company's net profit for the period, it is expected that the State coffers will benefit to the tune of $188 million as some 87 per cent of the ordinary stock units of Lascelles and 92 per cent of the voting rights of the company are owned by subsidiaries of CL Financial, which in turn is controlled by the T&T Government.
Explaining the after-tax profit of J$5.8 billion, the directors' report referred to J$5 billion (TT$360 million) as being "released on disposal on equities. The directors signing the unaudited accounts were Gerald Yetming, the Lascelles chairman and Fraser Thornton, its managing director.
Apart from chairing Lascelles, Yetming is the chairman of Angostura, Clico, the HCL group of companies as well as being on the board of Methanol Holdings (Trinidad) Ltd. Along with Yetming and Thornton, the T&T Government-appointed directors on the ten-member Lascelles board are Steve Castagne, Marlon Holder and Robert Ramchand. The Lascelles board passed a resolution that effective July 27 and with immediate effect, Joseph Teixeira, a retired Neal & Massy executive would be joining the board.
The company's after-tax profit showed an increase of 179 per cent over the same period in 2011. On Tuesday, Lascelles deMercado declared a special dividend of J$31.25 per Ordinary Stock Unit, which would be payable to ordinary stockholders on record at the close of business on August 17 and is to be paid on 31st August, 2012.
It is estimated that CL Financial owns 86 million ordinary shares in the company. The Government assumed control and direction of CL Financial in June 2009 by virtue of a shareholders' agreement between the conglomerate and the State, which allowed the Government to appoint four of the seven directors on the CL Financial board.
In June, CL Financial shareholders voted to approve a plan by CL Financial chairman, Gerald Yetming, to extend the three-year shareholders agreement until the end of the year to allow the Government and the conglomerate's shareholders to conclude negotiations on the claim to be submitted by the State for the billion dollar bailout of Clico, Clico Investment Bank and British American—all CL Financial subsidiaries.
The top four holders of ordinary shares of Lascelles are all companies that are majority owned by CL Financial. They are CL Spirits Ltd with 68.6 million shares; Calla Lilly Holdings with 9.5 million shares; Angostura Ltd with 2.8 million shares and Clico with 2.4 million shares.
The money that the Government has received in dividends from Lascelles—as well as from other profitable CL Financial interests such as Methanol Holdings and Republic Bank—has been largely unaccounted for as there has been no public statement or explanation of the income or outflow from CL Financial. In January, Yetming said that Clico’s 2010 accounts would be published in “a few weeks time.”
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