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#415120 - 08/30/11 09:32 AM Cane Farmers Association seeks funding for BSI buy
Marty Offline

Cane Farmers Association actively seeks funding for B.S.I. buyout

Details are emerging on the proposal by the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (B.S.C.F.A.) to purchase majority interests in the Belize Sugar Industries (B.S.I.). Currently, executives of the B.S.C.F.A. are out of the country shopping for potential financing since the deadline to pay ING over thirty million dollars is fast approaching at the end of September. The B.S.C.F.A. has met potential investors from Chicago, Mexico City and Panama and consider two of the proposals to be viable. According to the B.S.C.F.A., the first option was approved in June by the farmers to take control of the plant, a transfer which would be secured through syndicated financing. The legal team is arriving this week to carry out the due diligence process, which includes meeting with B.S.I. management, employees and the government. The second option involves “an experienced operator of seven factories in Mexico” who would acquire the controlling interest and allow farmers to participate as shareholders and to name directors to the Board. The Mexican group would also contribute financing, technical assistance and insurance to farmers. According to the B.S.C.F.A., it is asking the Prime Minister to give favorable consideration to place ownership in the hands of the six thousand farmers. The farmers also say they are not seeking government guarantees or government obstruction of the potential investment. Honduras’s Banco Atlántida is the other interested investor in acquiring B.S.I. The PM has said that Banco Atlántida is the only game in town. Their proposal for the buy-out has come under fire by industry insiders who describe it as tantamount to a fire-sale since most of the ninety million dollars in financing would go to payment of debts.

Channel 5

#415185 - 08/31/11 09:24 AM Re: Cane Farmers Association seeks funding for BSI buy [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Chamber of Commerce discusses proposed B.S.I. buyout

The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) on Monday issued a statement on the proposed sale of the Belize Sugar Industries. According to the BCCI, considerable reform is needed for the industry to survive and “the status quo is not an option.” The Honduras based Banco Atlantida has tabled a ninety million dollar proposal for a buyout of B.S.I. and the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association has also indicated an interest in purchasing majority shares. But what is the most viable route for the industry? News Five posed that question to the BCCI’s Vice President of Industry, Jose Alpuche.

Jose Alpuche, Vice President of Industry, BCCI

“First and foremost we believe that the sugar industry definitely can become viable. It is experiencing some difficulties right now but it can be viable and really it should remain in private hands.”

Delahnie Bain

Jose Alpuche

“When you say it should remain in private hands, does that mean that you all are in favor of the Banco Atlantida proposal?”

Jose Alpuche

“We’re in favor of any proposal that would come forward that, as I say, serve the industry right in setting in on a commercially viable footing. Banco Atlantida, being the most prominent at this point in time, the company that it appears the current owners are negotiating with. So we are in support of that indeed but it’s whichever proposal that comes forward that can put the industry on viable footing. I am not sure about cane farmer ownership as a group, I must say. I really believe that ownership of shares is a very difficult thing to deal with and I believe that if you will put your money into something like that, you should have direct ownership of it. We’ve had some difficulties, some experience within the existing ownership of the citrus industry, we certainly would not want to have that replicated in sugar. But as it relates to cane farmers individually owning, of course that would be a good thing. But really it’s up to the current owners to decide who they want to sell to. We’ve been at this for many years, we’ve known about the reforms coming to the industry from ’96 when the EU published its screen paper on reform with the ACP. And quite frankly I think all parties have failed to put the industry on the footing that it should be on. We have the resources available, let’s utilize it and let’s make it a viable industry but we cannot take the approach that the status quo will remain for anybody and I think we’ve seen that first with the investment from B.S.I. and now the financial difficulties being experienced by B.S.I. I think the farmers and the other stakeholders also have to realize that this is not the same game. We’ve got to adapt to what is the reality now. We’ve got to ensure that quality, that true competition enters into sugar and basically every other industry in Belize.”

Channel 5


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