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Republic blocked from Suriname acquisition
Republic Bank Limited says it remains open to any new opportunities offered in Suriname and other countries in the region. The bank’s statement yesterday follows reports that their attempt to acquire majority shares in Suriname’s Hakrin Bank was blocked by that country’s government.
Suriname’s Ministry of Finance said shares the state owns in Credit, Trade and Industry Hakrin Bank and Agriculture Bank will soon be made available for purchase by private investors, a move that blocks the impending acquisition of Hakrin Bank by Republic Bank. Reports are that this move was on the advice of the country’s Central Bank which has recommended against selling off the Hakrin Bank shares to the T&T-based bank.
In response, Republic Bank Limited pointed out that its operations in T&T, Guyana, Barbados, Grenada and the Cayman Islands are “owned and operated by Caribbean people”. “Over the years, we have built up a close working relationship with the business community in Suriname and we welcome all opportunities to expand our reach in the region where it is accretive to our shareholders and beneficial to our customers,” the bank’s statement added.
Republic Bank said it will not be able to comment on any transactions or statements which might have been made on the issue. Up to last year, Hakrin Bank had said talks with Republic Bank were “progressing smoothly.” it was also reported then that negotiations to acquire the Suriname’s government 51 per cent stake were at an advanced stage. Suriname’s President Desiré Bouterse said the decision not to sell is in line with observations by local bankers who had also warned against the acquisition by Republic Bank.
Established in 1936, Hakrin Bank is one of Suriname’s oldest banks with a 25 per cent market share. The Suriname Government said the sale would take place on the local commodities market and the intention is for the Government to have less involvement in the service and product sectors which are best served by the private sector.
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