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Jun 23, 2016

S.S.B. Tentatively Green lights Acquisition of Government’s Shares

Doug Singh

News Five has learned that at Tuesday’s meeting Financial Secretary Joseph Waight was called into the meeting of the Investment Committee to provide some clarity on share value. There was also one other relatively major concern – that is, that S.S.B. would be guaranteed a buyback by G.O.B. in the event that it wishes to divest the shares in the future. That’s become one of the conditions on the table, but once that’s cleared up payout of the fifty-five million for shares should be relatively quick.

 

Doug Singh, Chairman, S.S.B.

“Once there is a formal agreement, there has to be, if there are conditions to those agreements. For argument’s sake, I’ll give you an example. One of the conditions placed if we were to engage, the government would be somewhat of a guaranteed buyer in the event Social Security has to sell. You would recall in the case of B.E.L. and B.T.L., in the acquisition act, government must maintain fifty-one percent ownership of these utilities. The government in the case of B.T.L. currently has sixty-three percent of B.T.L. and it has I believe forty-something, about forty-three percent or so of B.E.L.  In context of the negotiations or an agreed shares sell out, let’s say they will liquidate up to twelve percent of the shares of B.T.L., that wouldn’t change their position; they will still have controlling interest. But you can’t forget also that the acquisition act provides for the shares held by Central Bank and Social Security to be counted as government shares, so to speak or the ownership by the Government of Belize, from a definition standpoint. Should government choose to sell more shares to other than Social Security and get in a position that when Social Security needs to sell shares, it would make the combine ownership less than fifty-one percent, government will be in a position, will be required under that acquisition act also, to purchase those shares from Social Security. So what we did is we agreed…we would have agreed or the recommendation is to, if you purchase the share that you crystallize that kind of arrangement.”

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