Business
JM | Aug 16, 2022

No value in Dolla nonsense – Access rebuffs suggestions it is facing acquisition

Al Edwards

Al Edwards / Our Today

administrator
Access Financial Services Ltd.

Micro-financing firm Access Financial Services, founded and run by Marcus James, is making it categorically clear that it is not about to be acquired by Dolla Financial Services.

Last week it was brought to Our Today’s attention that Dolla Financial is interested in acquiring full control of Access Financial Services and that a Non-Disclosure Agreement should be entered into to that effect.

Kadeen Mairs, CEO of Dolla Financial Services believes the deal would be of mutual benefit to both Dolla and Access shareholders.

Kadeen Mairs, CEO of Dolla Financial Services.

Dolla is riding high after its IPO  for J$500 million was oversubscribed by J$5 billion in May of this year. It has been one of the outstanding successes on the Junior Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange.

However, the Board of Access Financial Services has formally advised the Jamaica Stock Exchange that there have been no discussions with Dolla for a possible takeover of its holdings.

James, the executive chairman of Access, confirmed that the Board received a letter on August 11 after Our Today broke the story but denied that any discussions between the companies had been taking place.

James went on to say that his Board had also not received any proposed offer which they could place before the shareholders for consideration. James believes this move by Dolla was premature.

“One would be inclined to believe that Access would be making moves to acquire Dolla, not the other way round.”

Stewart Pinel, who has worked for both Bank of America and Morgan Stanley

Stewart Pinel, who has worked for both Bank of America and Morgan Stanley, speaking with Our Today, said: “As far as I can gather, Access is the leader in the micro finance field in Jamaica and has been operating for over 20 years. It was the first company to list on the Junior Market. James has built a tremendous business despite having to contend with other players aggressively taking positions in it and seeking to marginalise his efforts.

“When news of this Dolla takeover broke, it raised eyebrows. One would be inclined to believe that Access would be making moves to acquire Dolla, not the other way round. Dolla has gone about this in an unconventional manner. It has definitely courted publicity.”

In June, Dolla Financial became the largest micro finance company in Jamaica with a market capitalisation of J$8.8 billion.

Marcus James.

Access Financial Services has assets under management of just over J$5.6 billion, making it one of the leading players in the micro finance sector.

Earlier this summer, James took over the role of chairman of Access Financial Services from Christopher Williams of Proven.

James, who founded Access Financial Services in 2000, headed the company as CEO from its inception until 2019 when he took on the role of Group CEO with the acquisition of Embassy Loans Inc, a wholly-owned subsidiary located in Florida.

BOJ APPROVED APPLICATION TO OPERATE AS MICROCREDIT INSTITUTION

Earlier this month, Access Financial Services application to operate as a microcredit institution was approved by the Bank of Jamaica.

Access saw an increase in profit for the year ended March 2022. Post tax earnings were J$438 million, 65 per cent higher than in 2021 when the company made J$266 million. It’s total income grew by J$159 million to J$1.98 billion. The company reported improved performance, resulting from growth in net interest margins and improved recoveries on bad debt.

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