Crude oil prices continued to linger near the US$80 per barrel level on which this country’s budget is based yesterday.
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Minister Howai speaks out
On Tuesday night, Finance Minister Larry Howai delivered a short address at a cocktail function hosted by RBC Royal Bank at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Port-of-Spain. In between his speech and returning to the Senate, which was in session at the time, the minister addressed a few topical questions from journalists, touching on the CL Financial issue, the SEC’s probe of the First Citizens IPO, the upcoming Phoenix Park IPO and whether he is bringing a buy-election budget in September.
Q: What about the Clico/CL Financial issue?
A: That is improving day by day. The big issue for me is what decision the arbitrators make.”
Referring to the seventh extension of the new shareholders’ agreement between the CL Financial shareholders and the Government to December 31, 2014 or three months after the delivery of the Methanol Holdings (Trinidad) Ltd arbitration decision on the sale price of the Point Lisas-based petrochemical facility, Howai said: “We more or less had everything nailed down, but the shareholders thought that they really wanted to hear what the arbitrators had to say first before they signed on the dotted line, which I could understand.
“The CL Financial shareholders want to know that if there is anything due to them, they get what is due to them. I suppose some people may differ, but I can understand their position.
“The thing is there has been some appreciation in values (of CL Financial assets) so that the situation keeps getting better and better. I look forward to this being a successful exercise and us coming out of this—everyone as far as possible and certainly the Government coming out of this—fully intact and made whole in terms of what we put in.
“But, of course, it all depends on what happens when assets are actually sold. It may be premature, so I want to be careful about what I say about that.
“The last discussion that I had with Ernst & Young on the values of the assets and the liabilities of the group, I was pretty comfortable that we are in a good place right now.”