[Barbados, Rubis, BNTCL] Battle ready

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[Barbados, Rubis, BNTCL] Battle ready

Unread post by bimjim » Thu Feb 23, 2017

https://www.barbadosadvocate.com/news/battle-ready

[Barbados, Rubis, BNTCL] Battle ready
Thu, 02/23/2017

Should the sale of the Barbados National Terminal Company Limited (BNTCL) be approved to the Sol Group of Companies, with all the provisions as set out in the proposed acquisition, Rubis Caribbean is prepared to challenge the decision.

Head of Rubis Caribbean, Mauricio Nicholls, made the company’s position known at a press conference yesterday morning at the Warrens Industrial Park office of Virgo Communications, which handles the fuel company’s public relations.

The summary document recently made public on the proposed acquisition of the BNTCL by BNTCL Holdings Limited, which is a member of the Sol Group of Companies, indicates that one of the conditions of the transaction is the implementation, by the Government of Barbados, of a 15-year moratorium on the construction of terminals for the storage and handling of the products currently being stored and handled by BNTCL. This, they say, is to “maintain this most efficient terminalling solution”. However, Nicholls is adamant that if this is accepted as part of the deal, it puts Rubis at a disadvantage and prevents the company from reopening its own terminal at Spring Garden.

“We are prepared to fight the battle with all the elements that the law gives us to fight that battle, because we are fighting for our survival and future here in the country and we are prepared to fight it as hard as we can. Fight it legally, fight it ethically, fight it with the right arguments and fight it in the right forms. But this is a huge, huge issue for us; it threatens the survival and longevity of Rubis in the country,” he contended.

Nicholls added, “We like to do business in this country. We are here, we came here five years, six years ago, we have made huge investments in this country.”

The Rubis Chief Executive Officer was not only referring to the refurbishment of all 17 existing service stations under the brand, including the service station in Fontabelle which is currently undergoing work, but the introduction of new technology and the construction currently under way of the company’s headquarters in Welches, St. Thomas. He said all that is estimated to be an investment in the region of $100 million in the country. But, he said, their contribution to the economy has not stopped there, as the company has also provided employment for hundreds of persons directly and indirectly.

“We have a lot at stake here and we are ready to fight a very, very tough battle with all the elements given to us in the law, and all the forms we can use nationally or internationally,” he said.

He had earlier alluded that the local court, the Caribbean Court of Justice as well as other international forums that deal with investment disputes, are options that exist should they decide to appeal.

His comments came as he said that should Sol gain control of BNTCL with the proposed terms, it would also leave unanswered questions in relation to how the BNTCL will be regulated. He indicated that while the document suggests that it would be regulated like a utility, this is unclear as he said there is no framework currently in place locally to regulate utilities in general.

He said there is also the possibility, as industry practices show, that as the owner of the terminal, Sol’s trucks could be given preference to fuel up; and should that happen, when any Rubis station is low on fuel they stand to lose business. Nicholls said in principle a plan could be set out by the FTC to deal with that scenario, but it would be difficult to actually implement.

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