Holding Company Seeking Billions as it Moves to Privatise Sugar Estates

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana – The National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited’s (NICIL) Special Purpose Unit (SPU), established to oversee the privatisation of the sugar estates of the Guyana sugar Corporation (GUYSUCO), is seeking GUY$30 billion over a four-year period.

In a statement, the NICIL said the funds would be necessary to provide much-needed capital for the estates and will cover infrastructure maintenance, upgrades and development of new co-generation capacity to support operations of the estates and sell power to the national grid.

The holding company said it is confident in its business case for GUYSUCO and expects positive results with respect to securing funding for the sugar operations.

Earlier this month, Finance Minister Winston Jordan said that the SPU was seeking to secure a multi-billion dollar loan to fund the operations of the Skeldon and Enmore sugar estates that will soon be reopened on a miniature level.

“We cannot keep them closed and moth-balled, because when the buyers come they would probably not be as impressed as if they were working… once in operation they [investors] could also see that they are valuable properties to acquire,” Jordan told reporters.

In the statement, the NICIL said together with the SPU, it is working with the GUYSUCO management team to ensure the best deals are obtained during privatisation of the estates here.

But the NICIL said that the SPU is concerned that there is cultivated cane in the Enmore Estate fields that need be harvested and processed, since it represents significant revenue potential.

“While the SPU will provide the management for the restarted estate, GUYSUCO will provide the technical support,” the statement said.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the international financial services provider working on the valuation of the GUYSUCO assets now under the control of the SPU for privatisation, has expressed concern that in order to attract the best investors and secure the highest price for the estates, they need to be seen as fully functioning operations and facilities.

“Closed estates will not be attractive to potential investors. The deal with DDL, if approved by the boards of DDL (, Demerara Distillers Limited) and NICIL, would allow the SPU to meet the PwC recommendations for a quality privatisation of the estate,” the statement said. – CMC

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