[Barbados, Fuel] Rubis: Give us half

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[Barbados, Fuel] Rubis: Give us half

Unread post by bimjim » Thu Feb 23, 2017

https://www.barbadosadvocate.com/news/r ... ve-us-half

[Barbados, Fuel] Rubis: Give us half
Thu, 02/23/2017

Rubis Caribbean is upping the ante, offering to pay US$50 million towards joint ownership of the Barbados National Terminal Company Limited (BNTCL).

That figure is half the US$100 million that the Sol Group of Companies, which won the bid to buy the BNTCL, agreed to pay the Government of Barbados.

Chief Executive Officer of Rubis Caribbean, Mauricio Nicholls, says should the Government accept his company’s proposal to purchase half the shares in the company, they are ready to move quickly to renew the sale purchase agreement and have the documents signed in as short a time as possible.

His comments came during a press conference held at the office of Virgo Communications yesterday morning.

“We are committed to doing that so that the transaction – if the Government and the FTC approve to sell it jointly to Sol and to us – the transaction will close by the end of March… I think that is a very, very strong message that we are serious and ready to make a firm commitment to acquire 50 per cent of BNTCL, joining with Sol, and to pay the price for the 50 per cent that they have already agreed to,” he said.

Nicholls stated that he only received approval from the company’s Paris headquarters yesterday morning to make the offer, and further disclosed that the details of that offer will be made public soon. He pointed out that if the joint ownership proposal is accepted, it would ensure that both companies have a secure future in Barbados.

This latest move by Rubis comes as the matter regarding the proposed sale of the terminal company to Sol remains before the Fair Trading Commission (FTC), which is to decide whether or not that Sol will take over the fuel storage facility. But, officials of Rubis have long argued that the facility should not be owned by either Sol or themselves outright, but should be jointly owned so as to ensure that the playing field is a level one. Nicholls reiterated in yesterday’s press conference that Sol owning the BNTCL could not only weaken Rubis’ position in the market but also impact their consumers.

Nicholls further told journalists that that they are hopeful that the FTC will see the consequences that could arise from allowing one company to own BNTCL and block the transaction.

“I hope the FTC will see through the transaction and see the serious threat to a competitive, vibrant and huge market in Barbados, and it is a transaction that will have serious impacts on the consumers, they could pay higher prices for fuel; and for businesses as well. So we are hopeful that they will see through that and that they will be able to conduct their independent analysis and reach the conclusion that this transaction has detrimental effects,” he said.

With that in mind, he disclosed that Rubis intends to make a formal submission to the FTC indicating why the deal with Sol should not go through. He said that document is complete and they are ready to submit once invited to do so by the FTC.

“I think we have a very strong and compelling submission that we are hopeful that trained economists that work at the Fair Trading Commission will consider, and see the merits of the arguments that we are making why this transaction should not go through. Or if it goes through that some meaningful conditions are required so we preserve the level playing field in the fuels supply market within Barbados,” he stated.

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