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Sep 25, 2001

BTL shareholders meeting set for Friday

On Friday evening Belize’s largest and most profitable publicly held company holds its annual general meeting. This one may spark some fireworks as BTL’s directors are considering withholding a portion of the year’s expected dividends and issuing loan notes instead. No one from the company would speak on the record, but the issuing of interest bearing promissory notes is seen as a move to build a financial war chest for BTL to be used for competitive investments following the loss of its telecommunications monopoly at the end of 2002. Although howls of pain have been heard from some so called “small shareholders” that group is dominated by some of the country’s wealthiest individuals and institutions. Their cumulative return or investment, not counting the rise in share price, has averaged well over twenty percent each year…enough to have paid for their shares almost three times over. Fifty-two percent of BTL’s shares are owned by Michael Ashcroft’s Carlisle Group, twenty-five percent by the Social Security Board and the rest by various Belizean shareholders. Government’s directors have been instructed to oppose the issuing of any loan notes.

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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