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Aug 29, 2011

Cane Farmers Association actively seeks funding for B.S.I. buyout

Details are emerging on the proposal by the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (B.S.C.F.A.) to purchase majority interests in the Belize Sugar Industries (B.S.I.). Currently, executives of the B.S.C.F.A. are out of the country shopping for potential financing since the deadline to pay ING over thirty million dollars is fast approaching at the end of September. The B.S.C.F.A. has met potential investors from Chicago, Mexico City and Panama and consider two of the proposals to be viable. According to the B.S.C.F.A., the first option was approved in June by the farmers to take control of the plant, a transfer which would be secured through syndicated financing. The legal team is arriving this week to carry out the due diligence process, which includes meeting with B.S.I. management, employees and the government. The second option involves “an experienced operator of seven factories in Mexico” who would acquire the controlling interest and allow farmers to participate as shareholders and to name directors to the Board. The Mexican group would also contribute financing, technical assistance and insurance to farmers. According to the B.S.C.F.A., it is asking the Prime Minister to give favorable consideration to place ownership in the hands of the six thousand farmers. The farmers also say they are not seeking government guarantees or government obstruction of the potential investment.  Honduras’s Banco Atlántida is the other interested investor in acquiring B.S.I. The PM has said that Banco Atlántida is the only game in town. Their proposal for the buy-out has come under fire by industry insiders who describe it as tantamount to a fire-sale since most of the ninety million dollars in financing would go to payment of debts.

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