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Dec 3, 2014

Citrus Industry Dispute Settled Out of Court

Since the restructuring of Citrus Products of Belize Limited in April, news from Pomona Valley has been rather far and few.  That’s not to say however, that there isn’t much happening within the industry.  While it may have flown under the radar a few weeks ago, the tides have turned in the once contentious relationship between Banks Holdings and the Citrus Growers Association’s Investment Company Limited. An out of court settlement has been reached between the two shareholders on a claim brought before the Supreme Court back in 2010.  It has been a protracted dispute between both companies, one where majority shareholder ICL found itself at a deadlock with Banks Holdings which owns forty-six percent of CPBL.  After years of bad blood, the settlement signals a mutual understanding that there needs to be a joint effort between the two companies in the best interest of all shareholders.  News Five spoke this evening with CPBL Chairman Doug Singh.

 

Doug Singh, Chairman, C.P.B.L.

Doug Singh

“There had been a lot of problems in the industry, in particular with respect to the major shareholders who are Banks Holdings and Belize Citrus Growers Association via their investment company.  The matter had, I think, accelerated to a point where there was a suit in court for breach of the investment agreement and a countersuit also for breach of the investment agreement.  You will recall that early this year there was a restructuring, there was a memorandum of understanding that had several clauses in it and there was a restructuring of the board of directors.  There was a sale of a percentage of the shareholdings by Citrus Growers Association in settlement of their debt to Social Security.  Since that time I assumed the chairmanship of CPBL and we’ve been working together to try to move the industry forward and I think we’ve accomplished quite a bit so far.  A number of the issues that I think are the major points of dissension, in particular by CGA, has been resolved.  You will recall that there was quite a bit of action to remove the CEO.  There has been an amicable separation between the CEO, the CEO has departed, has resigned from the institution and that was done with mutual interest.  In addition to that, one of the final matters was the lawsuit for breach and counter breach, and counter lawsuit for breach.  It really isn’t right for us to move forward with this kind of a litigation between the two significant shareholders, I don’t think it rings well in the industry.  And so efforts were made to resolve that and the parties on, I think it was November thirteenth, about two weeks ago, went to the courts and withdraw or pretty much told the court that the matter had been settled so that there was conclusion on it and so that it cannot be brought back up in that form.  And [so] they withdrew the matter and I think that rings well for the industry.”

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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