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Feb 18, 2014

Social Security to ultimately take swap debt for shares in industry

Gaspar Vega

The announcement was made Monday that the Social Security Board will be taking on a financial role in Citrus Products of Belize Limited. Currently CPBL has a loan facility with First Caribbean International Bank. That facility will be bought by G.O.B. and then on-sold to the S.S.B. Now pensioners and contributors are touchy when it comes to S.S.B. funds which they consider sacred especially when the investment seems like a risky one. CGA currently holds multi-million dollar loans with S.S.B. which are in considerable arrears. Following negotiations today with stakeholders, it was made clear that government funds will not be given to CGA to buy out Banks Holdings Limited, as has been speculated. They say the financial undertaking will be to CPBL, and the industry merits it. Still, Banks Holdings shares are for sale if the price is right.

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Gaspar Vega, Minister of Agriculture

“Once its public funds, it is always a concern for the government. But at the same time, we also have to think about the people that would be affected if this industry were to collapse. So we have to weigh our differences and that is one of the reasons why we wouldn’t contemplate the complete buyout of BHL with Social Security funds.”

 

Anthony King

Anthony King, Executive Chairman, Banks Holdings Ltd.

“One’s shares are always available for sales at the appropriate price and that hasn’t been part of our discussion, but our shares remain available for sale at an appropriate price. And in the past, the discussions have been between the CGA and ourselves, not the famers; the CGA as an association. That wasn’t the subject of today’s meeting. Today’s meeting was about how do we come to a new arrangement for a new structure of the board to take the company forward and those are the matters that we have been discussing.”

 

The 2012 Actuarial Report from S.S.B. reveals that since 2010, returns from S.S.B. investment have dropped more than ten million dollars annually.

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