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VM Group puts out feelers for local, regional acquisitions

VM Group Limited has its feelers out for attractive businesses to buy, on the heels of the $11 billion raised on the private market from an offer of preference shares through new entity VM Financial Group.

President and CEO of VM Group Courtney Campbell says the financial conglomerate will first seek to complete the acquisition of 100 per cent shareholding in Republic Funds (Barbados) Inc – a deal it has been trying to close for some two years – after which it will begin the hunt for larger deals in Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean.

“Having completed the reorganisation and secured this additional capital, we go to the second move. We will be in a better position to execute on partnership opportunities across the region,” Campbell said during a special meeting of VM Group held on Thursday in lieu of the customary annual general meeting of the VM Building Society following the restructuring of the group.

The first annual meeting for VM Group Limited will be held in 2024.

“We will start by completing the VMIL acquisition of Republic Funds Barbados and then target larger deals locally and regionally. The target transactions will be in our core business segment of deposit taking and loans, asset management, pension fund management, and remittance,” Campbell added.

The pending acquisition of Republic Funds through subsidiary VM Investments Limited will give VM Group control of Republic Property Fund, Republic Income Fund, and Republic Capital Growth Fund, all of which are heavily concentrated around asset management. The closing of the transaction awaits regulatory approval.

“VMIL will continue to build our private equity business line having made a major push into private equity in 2022,” Campbell said.

The acquisitions are part of the financial conglomerate’s initiatives to boost revenue through diversified and integrated service offerings.

Over the next three years, Campbell says VM Group will also venture deeper into payment services, with the phased rollout of a full suite of card services for all personal and business customers. Additionally, VM Building Society will expand its business banking service and introduce FX Trading at VM Money Express stores.

“We have already launched VMBS Visa gold and platinum credit cards. Cards in our road map include international debit, classic credit and business cards, among others,” he said.

As for VM Finance in the United Kingdom, Campbell said the financial institution will introduce two new loan products to meet the needs of business customers.

And newly formed business VM Innovations will collaborate with VM Properties and VM Building Society to offer to potential homeowners through a mortgage ecosystem which the financial institution has branded Turnkey Mortgage.

“It is going to bring together several stakeholders on a single digital platform and provide members with full service option for all mortgage and related services end-to-end across the customer buying process,” Campbell explained.

VM was granted approval by the Supreme Court last November to move ahead with the reorganisation of the group.

The restructuring stripped VM Building Society of its rank and obligations as a parent company, established a new financial holding company called VM Financial Group Limited and a non-financial holding company, VM Innovations Limited.

VM Group Limited became the parent company to VM Financial and VM Innovations. And the building society now falls under VM Financial.

“Members, your VM Group is well prepared for the future. We believe that we have a strong team, we are embedding a healthy learning culture, and we have the right strategies for success,” Campbell said.

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