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Jul 19, 2011

Lord Ashcroft says GOB doesn’t want independent assessment of Telemedia’s value

Earlier we heard about the prime minister’s law firm doing business for the Belize Bank. The prime minister admittedly continues to enjoy his share from Barrow and Williams. Michael Ashcroft said this morning that the government doesn’t want an independent assessment on the value of Telemedia and that entrenching utilities in the constitution is not, in his view, a good thing.

Lord Michael Ashcroft

“The valuation of a company always has a range of valuations so what the employees trust and the charitable trust have done is they have gone to Price Waterhouse Coopers, which is one of the top four world financial houses in order to get them to give their professional judgment as to what the value of B.T.L. was at the time of the takeover and they have come out at approximately ten dollars per share. When the shares were sold to Social Security, which is hardly arms length—this was government to government—it was five dollars. I think the figure that the government has offered to the employees and the charitable trust is something like a dollar-fifty. So we have this wide range between the two. The employees trust and the charitable trust attempt to go to international arbitration and said okay government, let’s go to arbitration to sort it out. But this is the last thing the government wants. They don’t want an independent assessor.  History has shown that nationalization over the long term becomes inefficient and counterproductive and that it is the private sector that can drive innovation, efficiencies. And that’s why when you privatize the electricity company, you have the regulator who has to balance the interests of the consumers against the necessity of the private sector to make an adequate return on the money it is investing.”

Marleni Cuellar

Lord Michael Ashcroft

“I know it’s difficult to separate the situation, but as an investor, is it appealing to invest in a country where government has entrenched in the laws to retain control?”

Lord Michael Ashcroft

“Well, it’s going to be interesting because if the government entrenches in law that the state has to own a majority then for a minority shareholder, there is no exit strategy because he can never deliver control to anybody else and therefore you dampen the value of those utilities and make them less attractive to other people.”

On Wednesday’s newscast, we’ll have more on the interview with Lord Michael Ashcroft.

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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1 Response for “Lord Ashcroft says GOB doesn’t want independent assessment of Telemedia’s value”

  1. Concerned Belizean says:

    Government can’t be serious about paying if they are saying $1.50 per share. They are selling to Belizeans at $5 per share. If they were worth $1.50, why not sell to Belizeans at $1.50.

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