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Jun 29, 2012

Compensation figures for B.T.L. and B.E.L. widely vary

Dean Barrow

And now back to the budget, a large part of the public debt is still undecided as the cost of nationalizing Belize Telemedia Limited and Belize Electricity Limited has not been worked out. Now that both utility companies are government properties, Barrow says that B.T.L. is investing fifty-one million dollars in capital improvements this year, while delivering fifteen million to shareholders through dividends. B.E.L. also acknowledged net earnings of one point nine million dollars and projects six point nine million dollars at the end of 2012.  But compensation for the utilities still looms over the administration. The PM discussed how the appraisal by his consultants varies considerably from the former owners of the two companies.

 

Dean Barrow

“Elevating the debt to G.D.P. ratio, as I indicated earlier, is the additional liability of compensation for the now Belizean-owned B.T.L. and B.E.L. Based on valuations from NERA, the Government has formally offered compensation for the shares acquired in both companies in the aggregate sum of approximately eighty-five million (U.S.). The former owners have staked their claims at a combined sum of about four hundred and fifty million (U.S.). In both cases, we have sent counter-valuations. We also have to recognize two other liabilities—there is the amount payable to various land owners whose properties have been acquired over the last several decades by multiple administrations. This additional debt is estimated at forty-three million U.S. There is also the judgment in favor of NEWCO, estimated at four million U.S. dollars. And when we take them all together, even if we assume a mid-point for the B.T.L. and B.E.L. compensation levels –that is to split the difference—this would bring the recorded debt to U.S. one point four nine seven billion or just under one hundred percent of G.D.P. Now no one should interpret our use (for modeling purposes) of the midpoint between NERA valuations and the claimants’ demand. We believe that the NERA valuations are fair and it will take a lot to remove us from the quantum of compensation that NERA has come up with. But we recognize the possibility that a court (or some tribunal) might oblige us to move further along.”

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