Suriname keeps out Republic Bank

Last year, Hakrinbank had reported in its annual report that its board of directors had started negotiations with Republic Bank to become its new majority owner and talks were “progressing smoothly”. Despite opposition to the sale being voiced even from within the highest levels of parliament, Hakrinbank had said it had consulted with the Surinamese government in its capacity as majority stakeholder before proceeding with the negotiations. 

However, it seems now that arguments against putting state assets in foreign hands has won-over the government as Suriname’s Ministry of Finance said shares the state owns in Hakrinbank will soon be made available for purchase by private investors.

Reports are that Suriname’s President Desiré Bouterse said the decision not to sell its 51% stake to the Trinidadian bank is in line with observations by Surinamese bankers who had warned against the acquisition by Republic Bank.

Established in 1936, Hakrinbank 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.

In its annual report last year Hakrinbank had linked the pursuit of a new majority owner to ongoing significant increases in its operational costs and investments expenditures, and growing competition on both the domestic and international financial sector fronts. 

In commenting on this latest development, Republic Bank issued a statement on Tuesday saying that it remains open to any new opportunities offered in Suriname and other countries in the region.

Reprinted from Caribbean360

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