THE FINAL step in Government's plan to repay Clico policyholders-the Clico Investment Trustówill begin in the first quarter of this year and could cost more than $5 billion, Finance Minister Winston Dookeran said yesterday.
He said the Cabinet decision yesterday to officially establish the trust "brings a closure to the policyholders situation regarding Clico".
Dookeran, who is also acting Prime Minister, was speaking yesterday during the weekly post-Cabinet press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister, St Clair. Dookeran previously announced the initiative last year during his 2011/2012 national budget.
He said the trust will have 51.9 million Republic Bank shares currently held by Clico.
These will be transferred to the trust, and represent a transfer of approximately $4.8 billion.
He said policyholders with bonds of 11- to 20-year duration will now have access to the trust to purchase units equivalent to the value of their deposits during that period. Dookeran said the total value of this obligation is anticipated to be $5.2 billion, and if they all took up the offer, Government will still need to add a further $400 million to the trust to have it fully capitalised.
He expressed hope that all the matters will be resolved within the first quarter of this year and depositors can access the shares and units of the trust, either to keep the shares and reap benefits of dividends or trade it. He said after the transaction is complete the operation will be transferred to the Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange and "it will be an open and transparent process".
He said the "bulk" of Clico policyholders with investments under $75,000 had been repaid.