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Oct 9, 2002

Grower buyout complete in citrus industry

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The big news from the south tonight is that the Citrus Growers Association has completed the deal to buy out processing company, Del Oro. The exact figures and terms of the take over will be revealed at the C.G.A.’s annual general meeting on the nineteenth of October. Speaking with Chief Executive Officer of the C.G.A., Bridget Cullerton over the phone, we understand the association now owns ninety-nine percent of the company, which includes both the old Belize Food Products and Citrus Company of Belize operations. The new company, called Citrus Products of Belize Limited, will be run by former Works and Citrus Minister, Henry Canton. According to Cullerton the plans include making shares available to all growers via a scheme which could include deductions from factory payments. While there will be a certain amount of belt-tightening involved, the executive body of the C.G.A. is confident that through unique marketing techniques and decent prices for orange and grapefruit products, the company will be able to avoid financial straits. Via a press release, C.E.O. Canton says this year there will be “renewed hope” and under his leadership, “the Belize’s citrus industry will become the country’s leading foreign exchange earner and sustainable provider for growers.” The former owners of Del Oro, the Commonwealth Development Corporation, are believed to have sold at a substantial loss, after the British government owned corporation took a decision to trim its worldwide agricultural portfolio. They did, however, mange to successfully merge the two processing factories and set the industry on the road to increased efficiency and viability.


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