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May 11, 2016

B.T.L. Award, How Much Will G.O.B. Have to Fork Over?

The decision of an arbitration award for B.T.L. shares is perhaps weeks away, but there is early information suggesting that the value to be paid to Dunkeld International and other former shareholders will be in the range of five dollars and sixty cents per share. That is also the price per share that the government sold at what it called a discounted rate to the Social Security Board and others after the company was nationalized in 2009.  At that price, it means government will be paying out about two hundred million dollars. But that is just for the value of the property acquired. There is also interest on the amount to be factored in, which goes back to 2009. Government has already paid one hundred and sixty million dollars, agreed to as part of a compensation package last September for the acquisition of the company and BCB’s mortgage. At the time, PM Barrow also undertook to pay the arbitration award whenever it was made by the Permanent Court of Arbitration. Dunkeld had valued the shares at ten dollars and twenty-three cents and the government valued them at one dollar and forty-four cents per share. The likely value is at middle ground which is the five dollars and sixty cents. But as we said, the final award is still pending. According to the settlement agreement, half of the award will have to be paid in U.S. dollars. This will likely have a serious effect on Government’s ability to meet its international payments.  This afternoon at a press conference, Chairman of B.T.L.’s Executive Committee, Anwar Barrow told the media that settlement of the matter is solely between government and the former shareholders.

 

Anwar Barrow, Chairman of Executive Committee, B.T.L.

“As far as the award of the arbitration tribunal, that’s a government matter.  That is between the government and the former shareholders, so whether there is an award or how much the award is you would really have to pose the question to the government.”

 

Reporter

“But at the end of the day it’s the company that you represent, you must be aware of what it will be.”

 

Anwar Barrow

Anwar Barrow

“Well, I don’t know why you are supposing that.  Maybe you could explain the rationale.”

 

Reporter

“Because, notwithstanding that the government will find the money, it is still a state company and that’s the company that you represent so you must know what the figure is.  You cannot be in the dark as to what that figure may be.”

 

Anwar Barrow

“No.  I am, I don’t know about that reason because…”

 

Reporter

“Have you been informed…”

 

Anwar Barrow

“Of what the figure is?  No.  I have not been informed what the figure is.  I don’t know that there is a figure and I think that that question would be better posed to the government because they are the ones who are in arbitration, not B.T.L.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Would that stand to affect either the overall profitability or the earnings of the company seeing as though this particular issue hangs over B.T.L.’s head?”

 

Anwar Barrow

“I think, Isani, the issue doesn’t hang over B.T.L.’s head.  As I said, the government has sixty-three percent of the shares in B.T.L. and then they have other shareholders who have the remaining balance.  We run the company as a private organization, a private entity and we pay dividends to our shareholders, the government being one.  The government has or had a dispute with the former shareholders which they are settling, an award will come down.  I don’t know that it has come down and whatever that amount is the government will pay.  The company will continue to pay dividends to the government, dividends from the profits to the government.”

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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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