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#422197 - 11/16/11 08:01 AM Deepening Woes In The Troubled Citrus Industry
Marty Offline
There are problems in the citrus industry again tonight. And this time, it's not about early oranges, it's about payment for those oranges.
A press release issued by the citrus products of Belize Limited today gave the dire notice that CPBL does not have sufficient funds to meet the full fruit payroll due on Thursday November 17th 2011.

The pay out is 2 million dollars and the problem is that the company directors representing the Citrus Growers Association have refused to approve the signing of Security Documents required by CPBL's Bank.

CPBls' release today advises growers that quote, "unless the Security Documents are executed urgently, CPBL management will have no further recourse but to temporarily suspend the receipt of fruit for processing until the financing facilities can be accessed." Up to newstime we did not get a release from the Citrus Growers but we expect to have a response by tomorrow.

Channel 7

#422360 - 11/17/11 08:43 AM Re: Deepening Woes In The Troubled Citrus Industry [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Citrus Crisis Will (Likely) Be Averted

The standoff between the Management of the Citrus Products of Belize Limited and the Citrus Growers' Association may not end up unfolding into a full-blown payment crisis tomorrow.

As we told you last night - the CPBL issued a dire release saying that the company does not have sufficient funds to meet the full fruit payroll due tomorrow.

The CPBL says the company directors representing the Citrus Growers Association refused to sign off on Security Documents required by CPBL's Bank.

Well, late this evening, word is, that the CGA directors are now ready to sign off on those documents - and so tomorrow's payment crisis, it appears, will be averted.

CGA representatives have told the media that they never said they would not sign the documents; it's just that they had to keep to their fiduciary responsibility - which required a stringent review of all relevant information - some of which was sent late by the CPBL management.

CEO Dr. Henry Canton this evening told LOVE FM he is optimistic "that things will work out and the looming crisis will be averted, adding that there's a good possibility that documents will be signed by late evening.

Channel 7

#422370 - 11/17/11 09:00 AM Re: Deepening Woes In The Troubled Citrus Industry [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Citrus Industry Soap Opera continues

It has been a little under three weeks since the start of a new crop season and tensions within the fickle citrus industry were simmering on Tuesday but tonight it appears there might be a resolution in sight to the latest problem. It started Tuesday when the management of Citrus Products Belize Ltd. notified growers that the company is unable to withdraw the two million US dollars that’s necessary to meet its full fruit payroll. That payout was due today and this evening the requisite paperwork that requires the signature of directors of Investment Company Limited, a CGA subsidiary was about to be penned. The documents, according to Dr. Henry Canton, are required to access CPBL’s financing facilities with First Caribbean International Bank in order to meet its overhead expenses. Canton told News Five today that he had delivered the documents for signature, and that the management of CPBL was trying its best to avert a shutdown of the factory.

Dr. Henry Canton, C.E.O., Citrus Products Belize Ltd.

Henry Canton

“What it is Isani is that the company took, management of the company thought that it would be proper for us to notify growers that the financing that we have to pay for fruit would have dried up by the end of this week or even on some of the fruit that is to be paid this week because there are certain banking documents that need the signatures of directors. We thought that it is prudent to notify growers that there’s this possibility instead of coming payday we are not able to pay them and then it becomes a much bigger issue. What that has become is that by issuing the press release it has really helped because some of the larger growers have agreed to not accept payments to allow us to pay the small growers with what little money we have available. So this payday we are hoping to at least be able to pay the smaller farmers who are a lot more dependent on the cash flow that they have. However, I must say that there is some activity by some directors at ICL trying their hardest to get the document signed so that we could have access to the funding. I have all the documents on hand. I am just waiting to find out where to send them for signature [and] if that happens and we can get the bank to speed up the period on which draw down of monies are available to make the money available then we may not have a problem; or if we have a problem it may only be for this week and we can catch up next week. We do not want to close the factory because it’s a critical time especially for grapefruit and we would like to do business as usual.”

Isani Cayetano

“Now Dr. Canton this comes on the heels of recent contentions over the opening of the factory. Can you speak to us [on] how this can be resolved either in the short or long term?”

Dr. Henry Canton

“Well I believe Isani it’s getting to a point where the directors and creditors are going to, at some point, have to meet. Whether management is involved or not involved I don’t know but I think that this cannot continue to go on. The industry, the citrus industry is far too critical for the country, not for any one individual or two individuals but for the country.”

This latest crisis comes on the heels of recent controversy surrounding the intake of early variety fruit at the start of the crop season at the end of October.

Channel 5

#422872 - 11/22/11 08:19 AM Re: Deepening Woes In The Troubled Citrus Industry [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Citrus Growers short U.S. $2 Million

The situation in the citrus belt remains tenuous. Citrus growers are nowhere near getting paid for their produce because the Citrus Products of Belize Limited has been unable to draw down on millions of dollars it needs to meet payments. CPBL says some directors of the Citrus Growers Association (CGA) have not signed off on security documents required by their bank. It was forecasted that the documentation would have been completed on Friday so that the farmers would have been paid by Tuesday. But the management of CPBL says that the CGA has still not put its signature on the documents. News Five spoke via phone to CPBL’s C.E.O. Henry Canton, who says that at this pace, if the CGA sends over the paperwork on Tuesday, growers may not get paid until Friday or later.

Via Phone: Henry Canton, C.E.O., Citrus Products of Belize

Henry Canton

“Well the access to two million, two and half million U.S. dollars is what the problem is because it’s not just the buying of fruit; we also have to purchase fuel. The processing of citrus requires a substantive amount of fuel and you’re taking hundreds of thousands of dollars for fuel each week. And we need to be paying our fuel bills on a weekly basis if not we can’t draw down fuel. One of the issues that happened to us on Friday last week was that we actually ran out of fuel because of not being able to pay on time and getting delivery on time. Therefore we could not process citrus waste peel into feed. So it affects us at every side—not just on the side of buying fruits from the growers but also from being able to run the factory because we don’t have the available working capital to so do. Today is a dead day. Hopefully we can receive them tomorrow morning and we can do with them what we need to do with them. If not, we’ll not be able to pay growers this week. I’m hoping to do a release on that issue tomorrow.”

Jose Sanchez

“How much money are we talking about that will be withheld because these contracts are not signed?”

Via Phone: Henry Canton

“It has nothing to do with contracts that are not signed. It has to do with banking documents that will allow us to free up money that the bank has for us. It’s not contracts Jose, it is the perfection of security, perfection of collateral that the directors need to sign—two directors in the company need to be put on. It is basically a housekeeping on loan documents that will provide us with working capital to allow us to continue to run the company and buy fruits.”

Jose Sanchez

“Is it possible that there will be other minor paperwork that could also hinder the process after you do receive these particular documents?”

Via Phone: Henry Canton

“I think along with the documents also needs to be a resolution of the board of which they are also to provide and they are aware of that. I’m hoping that if we can get those documents that are required, once the company’s lawyer can vet it and the bank’s lawyers can vet it, we can then go into what we call a draw down period which should take a day, day and a half maybe two days. And that is why I am telling you if the documents are not given to us sooner than later, this week already starts to look iffy.”

In the meantime, the affected growers have been on the airwaves desperately calling for a resolution to this latest turmoil standoff between the CPBL and the CGA.

Channel 5

#423013 - 11/23/11 08:23 AM Re: Deepening Woes In The Troubled Citrus Industry [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Citrus growers will be paid $2 Million soon

There is a resolution in sight for citrus growers whose payments have been delayed by the Citrus Products of Belize Limited because a U.S two million dollar financing facility had not been drawn down. While the CPBL today says that for a second time during this crop they will not be able to make full outstanding payments to all citrus growers, payments will resume as normal next week. The company says that it wasn’t until this morning that all FirstCaribbean International Bank security documents were handed over to their Chief Financial Officer by the CGA. The documents will now be handed over to the company’s attorney for vetting and submission to the FCIB attorney which means that growers will get their payments next week.

Channel 5

#423289 - 11/26/11 08:24 AM Re: Deepening Woes In The Troubled Citrus Industry [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
Citrus growers have still not been paid

CGA says that CPBL did not make payments to growers today. A release says that CPBL got approval for accessing funds since Tuesday morning but payments have still not been made today. The release further says that on Wednesday, CGA appointed directors to the CPBL Board were requested by CPBL to travel to Belize City to re-sign certain documents as there were problems with how some of the documents were prepared and executed. The directors did so and resigned the documents so CGA is saying that this time it is not clear what is the exact source of the delay of payments to the growers. The release ends by saying that the CPBL had approximately $12.5m in receivables at the end of September of which some $2.5m were more than 120 days past due. CGA says these monies collected could have been used to pay growers for fruits delivered to CPBL.


#423575 - 11/29/11 08:01 AM Re: Deepening Woes In The Troubled Citrus Industry [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Citrus Growers U.S. $2.5 Million to soon be paid

And if you think institutional hiccups and misunderstandings are prevalent only in sports, then think again. Growers of the well-established citrus industry are still waiting to collect two and a half million dollars in payment from Citrus Products of Belize Limited (CPBL). Disagreements between the Citrus Growers Association and the CPBL have been extensively broadcasted, and some industry insiders suggest that that the delay is just another symptom of the ongoing battle between the CGA and its investment partner, Banks Holdings of Barbados. News Five spoke via phone to CPBL’s C.E.O. Henry Canton who says that there will not be any further delays and payments should be transferred soon.

Via Phone: Henry Canton, C.E.O., Citrus Products of Belize

“The documents were returned to the company on Wednesday; I took them up to the lawyers. When we went through the documents, we found out that the documents were not complete. Therefore, they were completed on Thursday with the proper signatures and seals. The documents were today taken up to Belmopan to be registered. There were a few little problems there. We now have those rectified so the documents should go up to Belmopan first thing in the morning and be registered. We have submitted the letters to the bank to draw down and we’ve completed all the documentation as required. So we are hoping that by Wednesday we would be able to make up the payments for the growers that we did not pay on Friday. And then continue as normal with payments the following Friday for fruit delivered this week.”

Jose Sanchez

Henry Canton

“How much of the million plus is still outstanding?”

Via Phone: Henry Canton

“I think it is about two and a half million US dollars.”

Jose Sanchez

“And since these documents are signed now, will this issue reoccur again or is it something that will…?”

Via Phone: Henry Canton

“No, it should not reoccur again. This last signatures of documentation that we have would allow us what we call working capital of about six million dollars which fluctuates along with stocks and receivables. So we should not run in this cash flow problem again. This provides adequate funding if all goes as we have planned. I think that we’ve been beating this thing to death. I just wish that instead of us twisting the truth sometimes to benefit ourselves, that we all speak the truth so that the Belizean people would understand the problem a little better. And realize that there is a problem and what the problem is and that we can put behind us all what I consider as unnecessary foolishness. There is money to be made this year and that is what we should be working on.”

The Citrus Growers Association sent out its own release today saying that CPBL allegedly had approximately twelve point five million dollars in receivables at the end of September of which some two point five million dollars were more than four months past due. Collection, in the CGA’s opinion, could have been used to pay growers for fruits delivered to CPBL.

Channel 5


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