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Butterfield share sale opens strongly

Bermuda in the Big Apple: the Gombey Evolution Troupe pose outside the New York Stock Exchange today

Butterfield Bank got off to a flying start with its initial public offering of shares in New York this morning.

After Michael Dunkley, the Premier, and Michael Collins, Butterfield’s chief executive officer, rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange, the bank’s shares surged well beyond the $23.50 target price from the first trade of $25.10.

By 1.13pm Bermuda time, shares were selling at $25.25, 7.4 per cent above the IPO price, having traded as high as $25.38. Volume was more than 3.4 million shares.

The IPO involves the sale of 10.6 million Butterfield shares, raising $250 million — $140 million raised by Butterfield from the sale of new shares and $110 million from existing shareholders selling off some of their stock.

Mr Collins told The Royal Gazette that he was “delighted” with how smoothly things went this morning, with the opening trade nearly 7 per cent above the asking price.

“We’ve been working on this for more than a year — it takes that long to put together the prospectus,” Mr Collins said. “We’ve spent the past two weeks on a roadshow around various American cities, having six or seven meetings a day and telling the Bermuda story.”

Mr Dunkley, who brandished a Gombey tomahawk as he stood with the Butterfield group on the balcony of the NYSE said he was “excited and proud” to have had the opportunity to officially open Wall Street’s trading day.

“I’ve been blown away by the organisation and commitment that this Bermuda community bank has shown to make this happen,” the Premier added. “It’s a wonderful occasion and a great day for Bermuda.”

To celebrate the IPO, there was also a performance by the Gombey Evolution Troupe at the NYSE and some Bermuda promotions organised by the Bermuda Tourism Authority, as well as NYSE traders clad in Bermuda shorts.

The Bermuda Stock Exchange temporarily suspended local trading of Butterfield common shares, until the opening trade had taken place in New York. Just after 11.30am, the BSX confirmed trading had resumed.

To see the NYSE video of the ringing of the opening bell, click on the story headlined “Dunkley to ring bell for Butterfield”.