FirstCaribbean International Bank has confirmed that majority shareholders CIBC and Barclays Bank have reached a definitive agreement for CIBC to acquire Barclays’ 43.7% ownership stake in FirstCaribbean. At the completion of the transaction, which is conditional upon regulatory approvals but expected by the end of 2006, CIBC will own 87.4% of FirstCaribbean. The remaining shares will held by regional investors.

*”FirstCaribbean continues to believe that having a major global bank like CIBC as controlling shareholder will be a very positive step for our company,”* said FirstCaribbean’s CEO, Charles Pink He added, *”We are delighted that with this definitive agreement we are well on our way to concluding the transaction”.*

CIBC’s history in the Caribbean dates to 1920. In 2002, CIBC acquired its current ownership stake in FirstCaribbean when its Caribbean operations were merged with those of Barclays to form FirstCaribbean. CIBC’s President and CEO, Gerry McCaughey, said: *“We look forward to working with the management and employees of FirstCaribbean to build on the excellent foundation they have created since this bank was established nearly four years ago.”*

**Regional Business Centre**

Earlier this week, FirstCaribbean also announced that it is investing US$9M in building a new state of the art Regional Business Centre in Barbados. This new building will house regional Operations, IT and Cards teams serving the Bank’s pan-Caribbean footprint from their location in Barbados.

FirstCaribbean offers a full range of market-leading financial services in Corporate, Retail, International Wealth Management and Capital Markets banking. It is the largest, regionally-listed bank in the English-speaking Caribbean, with assets of over US$9.5 billion and market capitalization of US$3.3 billion. The Bank has over 3,500 staff; 100 branches and banking centres, and offices in 17 territories, serving 800,000 active accounts. FirstCaribbean’s operations across the Caribbean are managed by a 14 member Executive Team, including Sharon Brown, Managing Director, **FirstCaribbean International Bank (Bahamas) Ltd.**