New Direction

By late 2000, the Matalon family had repurchased the outstanding bonds, pumped additional equity into the Group, and significantly reduced debt. By the end of that year, ICD Group Limited officially replaced Mechala Group Jamaica as the main holding company of the Group. The operational aspects of the restructuring involved drastic reductions in head office overhead, the liquidation of unprofitable subsidiaries and the divestment of companies such as PA Benjamin, Facey Commodity, Redimix Concrete, Universal Stores and the life insurance portfolio of Prime. While the restructuring did result in the reduction of the Group’s debt to sustainable levels, it also involved the virtual dissolution of both the Manufacturing and Trading & Distribution divisions of the group.

Immediately following this period, significant changes in the financial division took place: Sigma Investment Management System Limited and its sister company, Sigma Unit Trust Managers began the process of merging with Manufacturers Merchant Bank Limited to form Manufacturers Sigma Merchant Bank Limited (MSMB) in 2001. Eventually in 2004, MSMB was merged with Pan Caribbean Financial Services, and ICD’s shareholding in that entity was sold to Sagicor Life in 2005. Another significant event during this period was the acquisition of CGM Insurance Brokers in Barbados by IIB, which resulted in the formation of the CGM Group.

The extent of change intensified in 2005 when ICD publicly announced that it was rationalising its operations by scaling down its organisational structure, and out-sourcing its head office management services to Hyperion Capital. With a stronger and significantly leaner managerial structure ICD continued to get back on its feet while moving in a new direction.

AJ Gallagher, a major global insurance broker, took a minority stake in the CGM group in 2008, which was increased to a majority in 2012. Also in 2008, the decision was taken to discontinue the outsourcing contract with Hyperion Capital and management function was transferred back to ICD. Joseph Matalon, who was then Chairman and CEO became non-executive Chairman of the Group, while Peter Melhado, formerly CEO of Manufacturers Sigma, became President and CEO of ICD, and Vikram Dhiman its Chief Operating Officer.