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Jul 26, 2011

Workers Union approached about B.S.I. buyout

The employees trust comprises the Belize Workers Union, which owns eighty-one percent of Belize Sugar Industries Ltd.  The union is led by Harris Patten and it is holding a special meeting with Prime Minister Dean Barrow on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the issue of shares its membership owns in the beleaguered company.  Patten says that a buyout by Banco Atlantida would not assume employees’ stake in the factory, but would inject much needed funds into improving the operations and productivity of BSI. Senator Godwin Hulse said earlier that dividends have been accrued and Patten says that since the turn of the century investors in the company have not received dividends on the shares they own.

Via Phone: Harris Patten, President, Belize Workers Union

“There is no buyout of the workers shares.  There’s no such talks at all.  It has never been that as the case, alright.  So let’s clarify that now.  What, my understanding is. [that] Banco Atlantida is trying to do is put in equity into the plan, not touching the workers thirty-five million shares.  You got me?”

Isani Cayetano

“I’m with you.”

Via Phone: Harris Patten

“Good.  So they are not buying out the workers shares.  They are putting equity into the company and they want to own some shares with that equity.”

Isani Cayetano

“In what forms would this equity be invested into B.S.I.?”

Via Phone: Harris Patten

“Alright, the investment as I understand it would go to improving the milling and improving the factory on a whole, improving the total capacity of the factory.  So you [will be able to] grind more and you will be able to process more.  Secondly, they’ll invest in the fields.  They want to plant more cane and they want to develop far more cane because they want to reach at least two million tons of cane. Belize Sugar Industries or Tate & Lyle, at that time as it was known, Tate & Lyle was making a loss in Belize and they tried to stop the investment in Belize as such.  So to stop that investment they decided to give that thirty-five million shares to the workers of B.S.I. This thirty-five million shares was out of a hold of forty-four million; ten [million] Tate & Lyle retained and eight point eight percent of it went to the Government of Belize through the government itself and D.F.C.  It was given some to the D.F.C. and some to the government.  So all that happened and this happened after so there had to be a repayment period.  What Tate & Lyle said to us was this that listen “I wah give you this thing in trust but for the next ten years you would have to work and two-thirds of the profits of the industry goes back to Tate & Lyle as payment and one-third to maintain the factory throughout the period.  So for the next ten years two-thirds of the profits of B.S.I. went to Tate & Lyle and one-third went to maintain the industry and keep it working.”

Isani Cayetano

“That was within what period sir?”

Via Phone: Harris Patten

“1985-1995. That’s the ten years we all speak about.  At the completion of the ten year period we did not, I think the total amount we had to pay was the thirty-five or the thirty-six million dollars.  We were unable to meet that.  We were close to around; we paid back about thirty-one to thirty-two million dollars.  That was paid back through, like I said, [the] two-thirds/one-third [agreement].  When that happened we agreed that one dollar would have been paid as final payment.  So that one dollar was paid as final payment in 1996 I think it was in 1996 that last dollar was paid and the industry now became [for] the workers.”

We’ll have a report on Wednesday’s meeting in our next newscast.

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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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7 Responses for “Workers Union approached about B.S.I. buyout”

  1. Concerned says:

    What kind of an answer is this?? no buy out. so how will Banco Atlantida invest without getting any shares? which shares will be bought? if workers own 81% then is the bank buying 19%?? That doesn’t sound like the $40M investment needed. This answer raises more questions than it actaully answers!!!

  2. Belizean says:

    What workers need to stop doing is putting UDP’s as worker union presidents. U ever stop to wonder why there are no civil disobedience now? The union presidents have all declared their allegiance to UDP…so they will not cause any civil disobedience. They will all walk the UDP walk..that is why this man is selling dreams to his workers, who dont understand…were nt they suppose to meet with a lawyer to break down this thing and tell them what it is. Then all of a sudden BSI exec meet with them and clarified this, saying you stay with 81%, your shares is not touched but Atlantida will put in more than was ever put in? Get real, any additional shares offered will decrease your overall percentage stake, way way down, you wont have 80% ownership, but your share numbers remain the same, that is the technicality a lawyer can break down to you.

  3. Belizean says:

    A lawyer can bring clarify all the technical issues and what you stand to risk in the future, re: receiverships from foreign companies putting the entire bsi into a receiver’s hands (atlantida)…then our beloved sugar factroy and generating facility goes to a foreign owner…when has the sugar industry been so alive with additional investments? NEVER, you think its gonna happen now? , 150 Million plus was put into Belcogen to sustain the factory, and they are still in turmoil..??…is this the direct result of bad management decisions, that now puts the entire industry at risk of collapse and ultimately foreign owned..?. I guess there are no litigation monies to be realized here by him and his family, this is a bankrupt factory, so Barrow will kiss anybody @$$ to bail it out to save his face, at the expense of all of the Nortenos..! You ever wonder why he didnt meet the farmers when they said he is the only one that they trust? Then he turned a blind eye on them and ordered the BDF with loaded Ak47s to shoot at will..? He didnt care then and doesnt care now, this is a testament that this man is just an opportunistic devil..!

  4. Working in the Sugar Industry says:

    Concerned, clearly you do not understand business. There would therefore need to be an expansion of shares, and increase in the current amount of shares that exist in the company, from the current 44 million (of which the Employee Trust owns 81.9% or roughly 35 million shares) to say 90 million shares, whereby Atlantida would get 51% (or 46 million shares) the Employee Trust would keep 35 million shares and GOB would keep its 9 million shares. Only the %age ownership of those shares would change, in the case off the Trust it would be reduced from roughly 82% to 39%.

  5. Belizean says:

    So why did the exec from BSi hurriedly called a meeting with the union leaders and adivsed that they will get the company lawyer to represent them too, before the unions were going to meet with their own lawyer? when it is this same lawyer that is already on bsi side? if there is something missing that could be detrimental to their share in the future he wont say, why is the exec from bsi so adamant in controlling this process, the saying goes, the devil is in the details…so why is the union president giving in so easy..?

    1. The bsi ceo and deputy Pm are long time friends and have done a lot of dialogue together, their positions are the same.
    2. The Union president has ceremoniously defended UDP to his fellow co workers, at all costs to his union,as is being portrayed now. he wont stand up agains them is this is wrong..
    3. Banco Atlantida is a bank and as such, makes money off loans, so lending money to themselves to buy shares in BSI is a behind the curtain approach to increasing their international loan portfolios and probably even Atlantida Investment Portfolio, if this company goes into receivership, it is taken over by a foreign entity completely…they might not have loans now, but what you think a bank will do with its investments when they end up with 51% control, that is all you need to change the articles of association.
    4. The plan is to overalll control milling so as to own Belcogen, the future of any country is in ENERGY, not sugar. why do you think Chavez nationalized Oil..why do you think Dean Barrow Nationalized BEL, and then will sell out BSI to a foreign body who can increase power generation..? Its all about the bigger picture at the end, and total control, behind the scenes his family will benefit..Not the belizeans who own it and have the opportunity to own more, re: farmers and the common belizean. This is in a way, the exact Chavez and Castro dictatorship philosohies, prove me wrong and read about these people and who is Banco Atlantida..!
    5. UDP has not answered our questions about repayment to investors for nationalization, he has taken away the 25% ownership in Telemedia from workers and offered only 10% and tell them u find the money, why??. The true owners of Telemedia were the workers and Charitable Trusts, to take this away and try to sell 40% to a foreignor, Social Security and behind the curtains to Central Bank is not nationalistic but greed and corruption. The civil unrests during PUP tenure were carefully engineered by PM and UDP union leaders who used this machinery to create chaos, where is the chaos now when opportunism has been the biggest crime against belizeans…!

  6. Elgin Martinez says:

    Why can’t the PM bail out BSI?He bailed out BEL,then thesame should be done with the Sugar Factory.

  7. Cane Farmer says:

    Barrow and the Belize Workers Union (BWU) in no way will loose in this deal. Barrow will in some way benefit through the legal paper works and he will stop worrying about the plight of the cane farmers in the north. The BWU, they will be receiving their pay checks, profits and dividends. The Bonafide cane farmers, the people who really sweat it out, the backbone of the industry, will be the great losers– they will turn from cane farmers to cane cutters. Subsequently, more misery will result in the North and throughout Belize.
    Analyzing the sugar industry in Central America, in these Central American countries the sugar industry is owned/controlled by the few elite wealthy landowners while the poor are the “peones”. Perhaps that is the reason they have experienced civil war because the farmers and the poor are marginalized! So in Bz we can expect some sort of these in the near future because what will the cane farmers (turned cane cutters) do with their farming equipment (10-wheeler trucks, cane loader, tractors, vehicles etc)? Leave them to rust because they won’t be able to use them in more. You see Banco Atlantida has experience (as Barrow rightly says) in this maneuver. They will rip off the country! The cane industry should be in the hands of the bonafide cane farmers; they should decide the future of the industry with the HELP of a true government who really cares about the people.

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