The National Investment Fund Holdings Company Limited (NIF) made its first payment on February 8, disbursing $112.2 million among its 7,894 bond holders, the Ministry of Finance said in release.
Heralding the announcement, Finance Minister Colm Imbert, who championed the NIF last year as it launched in July, tweeted his congratulations yesterday, saying "The NIF has lived up to expectations! A success story. The first semi-annual interest payments to investors in NIF bonds, totalling $112.2 million, were paid last week and the NIF Fund, which earns income from blue chip companies, such as Republic Bank and Angostura, is doing well."
The NIF comprises $7.9 billion worth of shares from top companies including Republic Finacial Holdings Ltd, Trinidad Generation Unlimited, One Caribbean Media, West Indian Tobacco Company and Angostura. RFHL, OCM, Witco and Angostura shares were part of the debt repayment settlement owed to the government from Clico bailout, and the liquidation of assets from the Clico Investment Bank. Last year's issue was worth $4 billion, just over half the value of the total fund. Bonds were issued in three series:
- $1.2 billion with a rate of 4.5 percent and maturity of five (5) years
- $1.6 billion with a rate of 5.7 percent and maturity of twelve (12) years
- $1.2 billion with a rate of 6.6 percent and a maturity of twenty (20) years
The bond proceeds were utilised for the re-payment of the $4 billion loan note to Government for the financial assets transferred to NIF. The note was fully repaid on October 5, 2018 and facilitated the non-debt financing of the 2019 National Budget. The three NIF bond series are also being traded on the corporate bond market and with rising demand, the prices of the bonds have been increasing, thereby providing bond holders with opportunities for capital gains, the ministry said. The second interest payment will be on August 9.