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Feb 17, 2011

Belize Sugar Industries speaks about multi-million dollar debt and buyout

The continued stability of the sugar industry has been the center of debate in political circles as well as on the hallowed and fertile ground that the caneros of Orange Walk and Corozal have tilled for generations.  But the speculation on how the owners of Belize Sugar Industry will obtain the millions of dollars needed to keep the industry afloat has made it necessary for the company to seek new capital to restructure debts to I.N.G. and First Caribbean Bank. News Five spoke to the Finance Director of B.S.I. who discussed the timeframe of the debt restructuring and spoke about of Honduras’ Banco Atlántida’s suspected interest in buying B.S.I.

Via Phone: Belizario Carballo, Finance Director, B.S.I.

Belizario Carballo

“The Leader of Opposition was interviewed as saying that B.S.I. will require another twenty million dollars in March and that we were hoping to obtain it from Tate and Lyle otherwise we would again be facing a financial crisis. This is not the case and there is no such situation ahead and we consider it important to clarify as it can otherwise raise undue national concern and worry. The reality is that we have in place all the necessary financing for this crop and we have up to September to refinance the outstanding debt with I.N.G. and F.C.I.B. Banks. We remain confident of being able to secure fresh financing by September 2011.”

Jose Sanchez

“Who would be the financiers that you are looking to at this point?”

Via Phone: Belizario Carballo

“WESIFI has been engaged by us as the arranger to lead the process as securing the refinancing operations of the facility. We are looking at several options; one including Atlantic Bank along with Banco Atlántida with whom they have an associate relationship. Banco Atlántida has indeed expressed interest in the process and they have in fact visited us in January with a very extensive field of people both from factory and field side. All as part of their due diligence in pursuing their expressed interest in providing financing. I know it has been commented in the media with respect to the comments of equity interest by Banco Atlántida in B.S.I.”

Jose Sanchez

“The Prime Minister did say that they liked the factory so much that they wanted to buy.”

Via Phone: Belizario Carballo

“Well I can perhaps advise that perhaps yes there is interest in providing financing as I’ve said before. That interest has resulted in a visit, they have come and had a look and I think they are pleased with what they have seen. Whether that will translate into further ambitions beyond financing, what we can say at this time, is that we are yet to hear officially on that. But certainly that may very well emerge if there is indeed such an interest.”

Jose Sanchez

“Being that majority share holdings are owned by the Employees Trust, do you think that B.S.I. would be interested in selling out; the Employees Trust and other shareholders?”

Via Phone: Belizario Carballo

“Well if indeed there is that ambition by Banco Atlántida to pursue an equity interest in B.S.I., at this time what we can say, well we can’t say much because we haven’t heard from them officially, but certainly we would view it as a positive development and we are certain that perhaps we will have those discussions if indeed there is that interest, noh.”

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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