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#390055 - 10/16/10 02:49 PM Telemedia For Sale: $5 Per Share
Marty Offline
14 Months ago on August 28, 2009 - the government nationalized BTL. Regardless of what may come and what has passed, it was and will remain the boldest, most defining action of the Barrow administration's tenure - and the verdict on whether it paid off politically and practically will be determined to a large extent on whether Barrow is able to truly Belizeanize the company - and that means selling it to Belizeans.

That effort was launched today and as the government launched the public offering of the BTL shares. The first thing we wanted to know was, how much per share? Jules Vasquez has answers.

Jules Vasquez, Reporting
Five dollars per share - that's the price the government is offering the Belizean public to purchase 44.5% of BTL. That was the big announcement at today's launch of the prospectus in BTL - an offer for shares that the Prime Minister hopes will be seized upon by the Belizean public:

PM Dean Barrow
"The whole idea behind giving this company back to Belizeans is that all across the board, across the Belizean spectrum, people should have a chance to participate, people should be able to find the sale of the shares affordable. People should be able to feel encouraged to make an investment in this now quite essentially Belizean company."

As an incentive, the government will reduce the business tax on BTL from 24.5 to 19% and will eliminate the 15% tax on dividends.

PM Dean Barrow
"Ladies and gentlemen we are determined to make this thing work for Belizeans. This is why Telemedia was nationalized, this has remained our constant objective throughout, and this continues to be the end game. Belizeans must own this company and Belizeans must profit in a measurable way from their ownership of this company."

And both PM Barrow and Executive Chairman Net Vasquez made a strong pitch to interest a public perhaps wary of an unstable climate:

Nestor Vasquez, Executive Chairman
"The company is now in a very stable position. The company has a history of being the most profitable in the country and has never made a loss. We are financially sound with very encouraging projections as shown in the offer for sale."

And while strategic investors like a guaranteed rate of return, BTL is restoring its guaranteed dividend of at least 45% of the company's profits.

Net Vasquez, Chairman
"That means that what you see in the offer for sale is the very minimum that investors will get. In the history of this company it has always paid over 50% sometimes even 60% of its profits. Why? Because the cash was always there. These are real profits; these are not paper profits. I encourage everyone to give serious consideration to purchasing shares in Telemedia as it would be nothing less than a high quality and profitable investment."

And even though the public acquisition has been beset by myriad legal entanglements, Barrow says that's government's, not Telemedia's problem:

PM Dean Barrow
"These challenges are all against the government of Belize and the public needs to understand that. Telemedia is not on the hook at all, and so no matter what happens regarding the legal issues and the court cases, Telemedia and people's investment in Telemedia would be insulated."

The message seemed to have been well received by a less than full house at the Bliss Center, with key representation from Bankers, union leaders, regulators, senior government functionaries, and senior BTL managers.

But how will the public in general feel? The PM made his best patriotic pitch:

PM Dean Barrow
"But most important of all I want the Belizean people to feel confident about this investment to understand that all that has been done has been done for them not just in their name, but for them in a tangible way so that they might benefit. And I want to encourage the Belizean people big and small, even if you are only able to invest a widows mite, the signal that you send and the fact that that confers on you some ownership in what will be, in my view, the flagship Belizean enterprise, I think is very much to be encouraged."

And while Belizeanism is highlighted, Government has also invited interest from foreign strategic investors:

PM Dean Barrow
"We are going to pursue the possibility of some strategic partner. You know that there have been talks with Digicel out of Jamaica, we have also in fact received a very firm expression of interest out of Taiwan, and there's been a third signal from a company in Mexico. We will see which of these in any works out."

And if he doesn't sound too eager, it's because he wants it to be all Beliziean.

PM Dean Barrow
"Nobody, no foreign company will ever be able to own the majority of the shares in Telemedia. We do welcome these expressions of interest and while if all the circumstances are right we would have absolutely no difficulty, and might even be enthusiastic or would be enthusiastic about a partnership with those that can provide a inflow of capital and technology, it cannot ever be in a way that would dilute this concept of majority Belizean ownership the company."

And if the share offering is undersubscribed - Barrow says he is just fine with that too:

PM Dean Barrow
"Your question as to under subscription, government can't lose because we are absolutely positive that Telemedia is a winner so if the Belizean public for any reason is unable to purchase shares in the amount that we would like, then government continues to collect these fat dividends which we will use to fund all kinds of wonderful projects for the Belizean people naturally."

And while that is the spin that would be expected, the truth is that this term of the Barrow administration will for good or bad be defined by the bold nationalization of BTL - and for Barrow it has to work:

PM Dean Barrow
"Today marks if not the completion certainly an important way station with respect to an exercise that in my view was always dedicated to assert and maintain Belizean sovereignty."

Whether the nationalist sentiment will resonate with potential Belizean investors will be known by the time the share offering closes on December 31st .

The prospectus is available at all BTL offices countrywide and it is also posted online. You can find a link to that at http://www.belizetelemedia.net The application to purchase the shares is inside the prospectus and those should be turned in to the Central Bank of Belize. As noted in the story, the offer will close at the end of the year. The offering in the prospectus is for 44.5% of the company and it is being offered to Belizean Citizens and Belizean companies. The minimum investment is for 100 shares at 5 dollars. 900 Belizeans already own another 5.4% - and the other 50% is reserved for a strategic investor.

Channel 7


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#390056 - 10/16/10 02:50 PM Re: Telemedia For Sale: $5 Per Share [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

BTL Says “Bye-Bye” To 22.5 Million US Dollars In Belize Bank Debt

And while PM Barrow claims the former owners will not get what they want on the compensation - today's prospectus also dropped a bomb on the Belize Bank.

It states that a 22.5 million US dollar loan that that the Belize Bank had made to Telemedia is considered null and void. Straight like that, no loan!

That's a mighty giant stroke of the pen! But it means the country's most profitable bank is out 45 million Belize dollars.

Today the Chairman and the PM explained how it came to pass.

Net Vasquez, Chairman
"We have solid legal opinions that that loan was incurred unlawfully and it is void and to answer your precise question what happens to that in the books of Belize Telemedia? Well, we also mentioned in its offer for sale that that liability will be removed."

Jules Vasquez
"How does one void $45 million and can you say on what grounds, or what pretext? And at the end of the day someone is owed, someone has to be paid, I imagine. So who shall do the paying?"

Net Vasquez, Chairman
"Well let me attempt the answer there. I don't agree that someone has to be paid. If an event or a transaction is void, it means it's a nullity, equivalent to it not having happened."

PM Dean Barrow
"But Jules you suggested that the money was received and the bank which loaned the money is out of pocket and so somebody would have to repay the money. You are asking who? May I suggest a delicious possibility to you perhaps the previous board of directors."

Jules Vasquez
"Are they individually liable?"

PM Dean Barrow "May I suggest a possibility to you that perhaps the previous board of directors individually might be the ones that have to repay."

We can already see the legal paperwork piling up on that one….

But, for context, we note that the former owners of Telemedia made the loan to purchase shares in the same Telemedia that were owned the Royal Bank of Trinidad and Tobago. Government claims that the transaction was unlawful.

Channel 7


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#390057 - 10/16/10 02:50 PM Re: Telemedia For Sale: $5 Per Share [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Ten Percent Offered to BTL Employees

But included in that reserved 50% is ten percent for BTL employees. Under the Ashcroft-allied Sunshine Trust scheme - those employees were said to have been entitled to 23% held in Trust - which sounded good on paper, except the employees could not operate, own or represent the trust. At all times, the trust was and is operated by Ashcroft allied personalities.

Well, now the government is offering the employees 10% with what the PM says is real representation plus a seat on the Board:

PM Dean Barrow
"We are determined that 10% of the shareholding that we acquired from that trust - which we continue to insist is a trust that has not one wit benefitted the employees - but 10% of that amount must be kept in reserve until we can work out and find a way to get at least 10% of that shareholding back into the hands, or for the first time properly into the hands, of the employees."

Net Vasquez, Chairman
"That 10% would enable a representative from the BTL employees to have a seat as a director on the board of management."

Channel 7


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#390058 - 10/16/10 02:51 PM Re: Telemedia For Sale: $5 Per Share [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

The Question of Compensation

And while the government is offering the BTL employees a working trust to woo them away from the hard-charging, tough-selling Sunshine Trustees - there's no getting around the fact that government will have to compensate the former owners of BTL - including Sunshine. Those are four companies called ECOM Ltd., Thiermond Ltd, Sunshine Holdings Limited, and Mercury Communications Limited- which are all ultimately corporate cells in the highly truncated Ashcroft alliance. But how much will the compensation to those companies be? Principally, they owned about 94% of the company and at the value of five dollars per share - which is what Government's shares are being sold at - do the math, and today's share offering would seem to suggest a compensation package of around 234.2 million dollars.

That is far, far less than the 300 million US suggested by the Ashcroft allied attorneys. And today the prime minister hinted that the proposed compensation won't even be around 234 million.

PM Dean Barrow
"The price per share that the company was worth at the time government acquired it, certainly has to be less than the price per share now a year and change after during which period all sorts of wonderful things have happened as a consequence of the Belizeanization and we are confident that in fact there is going to be a difference between the price then and the price at which at which we are selling now, and it will not be a difference that will be negative for the government and people of Belize."

Channel 7


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#390059 - 10/16/10 02:53 PM Re: Telemedia For Sale: $5 Per Share [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Telemedia shares go on sale

More than a year after its nationalization, Prime Minister Dean Barrow formally announced today the sale of shares in Telemedia even though compensation has not been settled and the value of the company will not be determined until after the litigation process is complete. Over twenty-two million ordinary shares are being sold for five dollars per share; that’s forty four point five percent of the issued share capital of Telemedia. The sale closes on the thirty-first of December and though that’s only a few months away, the litigation is expected to persist long after the shares are sold. While no major strategic Telecom company has partnered to buy the shares, Barrow indicated that the shares are currently being sold below the value that experts have determined. This means that reducing the price of shares by one dollar, ultimately taxpayers will pay the difference.

Dean Barrow

“The price per share at which we are making this offer for sale is a price that is below what the expert assessment suggested the shares would actually be worth in an open market and I make this point in order to reiterate, in order to stress again that the whole idea behind giving this company back to Belizeans is that all across the border, people should have a chance to participate.”

Net Vasquez, Chairman of Telemedia

Net Vasquez

“You can feel confident that the articles guarantee you a minimum of forty-five percent profit but the directors may declare even more than that percentage of the profits. Therefore I encourage everyone to give serious consideration in purchasing shares in Telemedia because it will be a high quality and profitable investment.”

Dean Barrow

Dean Barrow

“Government is committed to continuing its full scale support of this re privatization for the Belizean people by doing a number of things. First of which is to take back down the business tax that the business pays and this applies also to the other telecommunication provider but speaking particularly with respect to our exercise this morning, government will take back down the business tax that Telemedia pays to percent from the twenty-four point five percent. These handsome dividends we expect Belizeans to realize as the law now stands, would attract a fifteen percent withholding tax and at the same time we reduce the law to reduce business tax…we will introduce a law to remove the percent holding tax in Belize.”

The sale of ordinary shares is expected to generate over one hundred and ten million dollars.

Channel 5

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#390063 - 10/16/10 02:58 PM Re: Telemedia For Sale: $5 Per Share [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

TELEMEDIA SHARES GO ON SALE

This morning the government announced the opening of the offer for the sale of shares in Belize Telemedia Limited. The opening comes a little over a year after government acquired the company and according to Prime Minister of Belize, Dean Barrow, the government’s aim is to place the company into the hands of Belizeans. Government is offering just under forty-five percent of the issued share capital, about twenty two million shares for purchase to the citizens and companies owned by Belizeans. Belizeans living abroad can also invest their money in BTL for a price of five dollars per share. Prime Minister Barrow says the offer is below the actual worth in an open market.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“The price per share at which we are making this offer for sale is a price that is bellow what the expert assessment suggested the shares would actually be worth in an open market. I make this point in order to reiterate, in order to stress again that the whole idea behind giving this company back to Belizeans is that all across the board, all across the Belizean spectrum people should have a chance to participate. People should be able to find the sale of the shares affordable. People should be able to feel encouraged to make an investment in this now quintessentially Belizean company. We do want to contemplate this possibility of a strategic investor coming in. But the Belizeans buy in great numbers. What would be possibly on offer to a strategic investor would begin to  be reduced and it is not going to cause us to shed any tears because we are convinced that ultimately we can do this as a complete and entire Belizean experiment; Belizean exercise.”

Government says that besides the interest from Digicell in Jamaica, they have received a second offer from Taiwan and a third from a company in Mexico. Even if they sell to a foreign investor, that investor will not hold a majority of shares in the company. Furthermore, the Prime Minister announced that Government will reduce the business tax the company pays to nineteen percent from 24.5 percent, which he said will also apply to the other telecommunications provider. At the same time he also committed to removing the fifteen percent withholding tax from dividends. And to further encourage the Belizean citizenry to purchase, Executive Chairman, Nestor Vasquez said the projections for the next five years are profitable.

Nestor Vasquez; Executive Chairman, Telemedia

“I must inform the public that the company is now in a very stable position. One, Telemedia has a highly skilled and well qualified and competent work force. Two, the company is technically strong with a solid and robust infrastructure covering the entire country. Three, the company has a history of being the most profitable in the country and has never made a loss. Four, we are financially sound with very encouraging projections as shown in the offer for sale on page eight. For example, the cash flow statement on page nine for the years 2011 through to 2015 show cash flows increasing from $20.2 million to $64.6 million. All these figures represent cash available after the distribution of dividends of 45% of the yearly net profits of the company. I mention this because the board of directors would still be able to declare dividends in excess of the 45%. That means that what you see in the offer for sale is the very minimum that investors will get. In the history of this company it has always paid over 50% sometimes in 60% of its profit because the cash was always there.”

Government is holding fifty percent of shares of which it plans to place ten percent into the hands of Telemedia employees. The ten percent added Vasquez will enable a representative from the BTL employees to have a seat on the Board of Management, while government will have two members on the board. In regards to social security board investment, Barrow expressed his hope that the company would end up buying. But given the pending settlement with the company’s previous ownership, PM Barrow said it poses no threat to the investments into the company or its future. A purchaser will be notified if his or her offer is accepted within 53 days of receipt of the offer.

LOVE FM

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#390399 - 10/20/10 02:27 PM Re: Telemedia For Sale: $5 Per Share [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
BTL shares for sale, $500 a batch

The Government of Belize opened the sale Friday of 22 million shares in Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL)—amounting to roughly 45% of the company, at BZ$5.00 a share. According to the just-released prospectus, the shares will be sold in blocks of 100, so that the minimum investment a purchaser can make is BZ$500.

Making the announcement this morning at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts was a panel composed of government financial advisor, Dr. Manuel Esquivel; BTL’s executive chairman, Net Vasquez; Prime Minister Dean Barrow and Financial Secretary Joe Waight.

The purchaser must be a Belizean, and the government says that the disclosure must be made in the form appearing at the end of the prospectus, a booklet which details BTL’s financial projections for five years as well as the un-audited financial statements for 2010.

Financial Secretary Joe Waight said that Belizeans living abroad can send their applications via registered mail with their payments and proof of citizenship.

If the interest from abroad is high enough, government would also try to facilitate them through Belizean embassies abroad, said the Prime Minister.

One of the big questions that have been raised is the market value of BTL. Based on our calculation, it has been fixed at $297 million for the purposes of the divestment. The government did not specifically quote a figure, but we have derived it based on the available information.

Previously, Prime Minister Dean Barrow had told us that the sale price of the shares would be a dollar off the market valuation. Since the sale price is $5, the market valuation would be $6. BTL has an issued share capital of 49.5 million, which, if multiplied by a $6 per share figure, would amount to a company value of $297 million.

After the August 2009 takeover, Government holds 46.8 million (94.54%) of those shares—a value of $280 million using the prospectus numbers. The Government still owes the Michael Ashcroft group for these shares, and there has been no agreement for compensation, according to the Prime Minister.

There are fewer than 1,000 minority shareholders in BTL. According to the prospectus, the Baron Bliss Trust has 136,734 shares (0.28%) in BTL, the Public Service Union and the Belize National Teachers Union have 794,732 (1.6%), and 908 other shareholders have 3.58% or 1,774,673 shares, according to the prospectus document.

Prime Minister Barrow said again today that Government would reserve a 10% block of shares for the 457 workers of BTL. That would work out to just under 5 million shares for a sale price of about $25 million—about $55,000 a head, if everyone from the messenger to the manager participates in the purchase.

The Prime Minister told us Thursday that he would offer those shares to BTL workers at a discount, but did not specify how much that discount would be.

Although the Government has opened the public offering of shares, there is an application pending in the Court of Appeal, filed by former BTL executive chairman, Dean Boyce, asking the court to issue an injunction on the sale and to furthermore declare the nationalization unconstitutional, as he contends that the government wrongfully took away the shares.

At the launch of the share sale this morning, the Prime Minister indicated that even if the court were to rule that the government was wrong in taking over BTL, third parties purchasing now would not have to worry about losing their shares, since the sale is being done after a Supreme Court declaration that the sale was, in fact, constitutional.

It would be the government, said Barrow, that would be “on the hook” for compensation and damages; although he expressed confidence that the courts would rule in Government’s favor.

Financial Secretary Waight said that the sale of shares should be open until the end of the year, unless the shares are fully subscribed before.

The Ashcroft group, from which the government took the BTL shares last year, has pursued international arbitration challenging the nationalization. The Prime Minister said that the Ashcroft side has claimed that the company’s value is US$300 million—twice the valuation upon which the sale of shares is based.

The Government, in the course of the nationalization, had also acquired a $45 million debt with the British Caribbean Bank, an Ashcroft bank, as well as a $20 million package of debt held by Sunshine Holdings to the Belize Social Security Board and Central Government. Payment of interest on the $20 million loan package is due to begin at the end of this month.

The Government and BTL have taken the stance that the $45 million debt was illegal. The BTL directors could not take out such a loan for the company to buy its own shares, according to BTL executive chairman Net Vasquez. Vasquez also outlined a procedure that involves a court application, which, he said, would be necessary for a transaction like this, which, in his opinion, reduced the company’s capital.

Prime Minister Barrow said that the directors who ran BTL at the time should be made personally liable for the $45 million debt. Those funds were reportedly used to pay RBTT in Trinidad for the shares, held as collateral for a Jeff Prosser loan.

Government claims it had gotten expert opinion from London saying that the former directors should be held responsible for the payment.

The shares that BTL had purchased with the loan were apportioned to shareholders as a kind of dividend—94% to the Ashcroft group, the rest to minority shareholders, including the unions.

The union reps at the ceremony Friday expressed concerns about losing those shares, in light of Government’s position that the loan was illegal. Vasquez indicated that the shares of the unions would remain with the unions.

Government also announced that in line with the September 21 announcement, the Internet speed for BTL customers will be doubled (at the same cost to customers) on November 1.

AMandala

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#390405 - 10/20/10 02:32 PM Re: Telemedia For Sale: $5 Per Share [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

British Caribbean Bank wants U.S. $22.5 Million it loaned to Telemedia

One in the myriad of cases before the courts in the nationalization of Telemedia is by the British Caribbean Bank that is seeking to recover millions of dollars on loan to Telemedia. But last Friday, at the launch of the BTL offering, the Chairman of Telemedia, Mr. Net Vasquez, declared that the loan of twenty-two point five US million dollars to the company is null and void. The loan was made by the British Caribbean Bank to Telemedia back in 2007 and when the company was nationalized in 2009, the government also nationalized the loan. This afternoon the Bank issued a release saying Vasquez’s statement was both reckless and misleading and that according to its own legal advice, the loan was lawful and it is an acknowledged fact that the Bank advanced the funds to Telemedia. According to the release, “it cannot be the case that Telemedia can continue to hold onto to twenty-two point five million US dollars of the bank’s money through Telemedia’s own alleged wrongdoing.” It continues that the people who stand to lose are the would-be purchasers of the Telemedia shares and the people of Belize. British Caribbean Bank also expresses confidence that it will recover its funds either as a result of its claim against the Government for having expropriated its assets or through its challenge to the legislation which nationalized its interests.

Channel 5

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#390693 - 10/23/10 03:23 PM Re: Telemedia For Sale: $5 Per Share [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
Boyce attempts to stop sale of BTL shares; awaits Court of Appeal ruling
The Court of Appeal is expected to hand down a decision in about two weeks’ time, to say whether it agrees with the request of Dean Boyce, former executive chairman of Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL), for an injunction to stop Government from selling shares in BTL.

On Friday, October 15, 2010, the Government launched the prospectus for the sale of 22 million shares, or 45% of the company, at $5 a piece.

On Thursday, October 21, Court of Appeal Justice Dennis Morrison listened to arguments from the lead attorney for Boyce, Vincent Nelson, QC, of London, assisted by Belizean attorney Godfrey Smith.

The Government was represented in the proceedings by Lois Young, private attorney, and Samuel Shepherd, counsel from the Attorney General’s Ministry.

Nelson presented arguments on Thursday morning, as he contended that the government should be stopped via an interim injunction from selling off both the shares in Sunshine Holdings Limited and in BTL, because he has a constitutional claim pending, challenging the government takeover.

Amandala readers will recall that when Government nationalized BTL back in August 2009, it also acquired 100% of Sunshine Holdings, which held 23% shares in BTL. However, the Sunshine shares and Sunshine’s shares in BTL are still claimed as property by the BTL Employees Trust—not controlled at all by the BTL workers but by Boyce and former BTL chairman, Keith Arnold. Boyce and Arnold are the two trustees named for the trust.

In the event that the court does not agree to grant Boyce the injunction, Boyce is asking the court to hold all the funds that the government will collect from the sale of shares in an escrow account, pending the outcome of the trial in the main court case. The sale has the potential to net over $100 million.

Nelson, Boyce’s attorney, told Justice Morrison that his client seeks to preserve the status quo – that Government should hold on to the shares and not sell.

If the court finds in Boyce’s favor, said Nelson, damages are not an adequate remedy for him. Government has held the shares for over a year and it won’t lose if it holds the shares a little longer, Nelson argued.

It was also noted in this morning’s proceedings that because two judges have recused themselves from the proceedings, the Court of Appeal does not know when the substantive case, the constitutional motion, will come to hearing.

Nelson gave an undertaking that the appellant would cover whatever damages Government may suffer as a result of any injunction. He noted, though, that the government side has given no cross-undertaking to cover damages in the event that it loses the case. Granting the injunction, the attorney argued, would minimize the risks to the parties.

He went on to chronicle a series of media reports indicating that Government had expressed its intent to sell the BTL shares and that there were two interested foreign buyers, one of which was later revealed to be Digicel, headquartered in Jamaica.

According to Nelson, it may be costly, in the event that the court rules for Boyce, for his client to recover whatever financial gains it would miss out on because of the government takeover. He also speculated that the value of the BTL shares may be reduced.

Even if the shares are returned to Boyce, he would suffer prejudice, and there could be irreversible losses, Nelson argued.

He also pointed to an announcement from Government that a minimum of 45% dividends would be declared to shareholders.

Any decision to pay such dividends, said Nelson, may deprive the company of funds that could be used for further development.

With the negotiations to bring in Digicel as a strategic buyer, he added, they are likely to mesh Telemedia’s operations with the international group, which may also cause irreparable harm. Tariffs and profit margins may be affected, and the damages may be very difficult to quantify, he further proposed.

Government can wait a few more months to sell the shares, Nelson insisted.

He also told the court that any compensation from the sale of shares, in the event that the sale goes through, would be paid to Boyce and Arnold, as trustees of the BTL Employees Trust, and out of those funds the damages would be paid to Government, if Government suffers harm from the injunction to stop the sale of shares.

The Boyce case assumes, of course, that the court will rule in his favor.

Arguing for the government side on Thursday afternoon, Lois Young said that the bottom-line issue for Boyce is the compensation money.

She pointed to a statement recently made by Boyce’s attorney, Smith, to Amandala, stating: “We will happily call off the fight if we are compensated properly.”

She presented evidence in court showing that, in fact, Boyce and the trust had been in communication with the government since last year, as they had submitted claims for compensation.

She furthermore recalled that on September 23, 2010, Boyce wrote Prime Minister Dean Barrow proposing to purchase majority shares in BTL—this 2 days after Barrow announced in his Independence Day speech that the sale of shares would be open to the public on October 15.

(Prime Minister Barrow did not entertain Boyce’s letter.)

Boyce’s position has been inconsistent, the government attorney said, expressing the view that he cannot be attacking and challenging the government on the one hand and then, on the other hand, turn around and propose negotiations to buy the shares Government now holds in BTL.

Boyce is interested in compensation; that is what he is after, Young told the court.

She said that the injunction application was merely an attempt to pressure the government to pay him compensation.

Young also clarified that under Belize law, it is a requirement, affirmed by the judiciary, that even if the proceeds of the sale of shares were to be set aside in a special fund, the government would not be able to pay out that money unless the National Assembly approves it.

Responding to claims from the Boyce side that they were unaware until recently that the government was intending to sell the shares, Young put on record that it had actually been announced from the time of nationalization in August 2009 that Government intended to sell at least some of the shares, and it had also been made clear that the proceeds of the sale would be used to pay former shareholders compensation.

She also chronicled for the court the recent letters that Boyce’s attorney, Smith, wrote Digicel, a potential investor in BTL. The September 17, 2010, letter Smith wrote Digicel, outlined the “transgressions” of both past and present administrations when it comes to contracts with foreign investors. Young commented that there was no need for such an “egregious” letter and he, Smith, was even “dragging the judiciary into the effort to stop the sale of shares, unnecessarily so.”

Young argued in court that Boyce would suffer no prejudice if the court rules in his favor in the constitutional challenge to the takeover of BTL, because the court would direct to have the register reflect the reinstatement of Sunshine as shareholder.

As for the claim of loss of dividends, she said: Dividends are money and damages are payable in money. As for the profits, she said, profits are money and can be compensated for.

Additionally, any purchaser who subscribes in a public offering would look to the government for satisfaction.

“The applicant can sit back – on their own reasoning – and enjoy their shares,” said Young.

Still, Young asserted that Boyce’s application is not bona fide, because his primary interest is collecting compensation for the shares Government had acquired in BTL.

The manifold object of the exercise today, said Young, is to embarrass the government and stop the sale of shares, to bring the government to the door of Dean Boyce to negotiate to buy majority interest in BTL, as Boyce had requested on September 23.

AMandala

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#391750 - 11/03/10 05:34 PM Re: Telemedia For Sale: $5 Per Share [Re: Marty]
Short Offline
Social Security Will Invest In BTL; Labour/Employers Object

And in big news coming out of Belmopan at this hour -7news has confirmed that the social security board of directors has voted in favour of investing in BTL to the tune of 50 million dollars - which will purchase 20% of the company's shareholdings.

But the vote was not unanimous, far from it. It was carried with a 5 to 4 majority - meaning that the government appointed representatives voted in favour while the unions and business sector representative voted against it.

As we told you, the meeting was originally set for last week Friday - but it had to be postponed when the labour representative did not show up.

Social Security will now become the first major institutional investor in BTL - and is ensured of two seats on the phone company's board of directors. Government is still holding out for a major strategic investor while the share offering remains open to the public….

http://www.7newsbelize.com/sstory.php?nid=18159
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Chaa Creek is an award-winning luxury Belize Resort, rated as one of the worlds best Eco Lodges. We are a pioneer in adventure travel to Belize since 1981!
White Sands Dive Shop - 5 Star PADI Dive Facility - Daily diving, SCUBA instruction and Snorkeling
Caribbean Inspired All Natural Condiments & Spice Blends, Over 100 are Gluten Free!
We manage a variety of homes, apartments, condos and commercial properties here on Ambergris Caye. Our minimum lease on ALL properties is six months.
Conch Shell Inn: All rooms are right on the beach in the heart of San Pedro, so within walking distance to anything and everything!!
Lil’ Alphonse has snorkel equipment to fit anyone as well as Marine Park Tickets and flotation devices to assist those not as experienced.
Coastal Xpress offers a daily scheduled ferry run to most resorts, restaurants and private piers on the island of Anbergris Caye. We also offer  private and charter water taxi service.
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