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Finance Minister satisfied with CLF’s Lascelles sale
Finance Minister Larry Howai has said he is satisfied the board and management of the Government-controlled CL Financial Group made the best decision in agreeing to sell off its assets in Lascelles de Mercado to the Italian spirits company Campari for US$338 million.
“They have looked at it in detail and they have made a decision which in their view reflect the best value for the investment. From my perspective, I am glad we are moving the process forward in terms of addressing the issue of how we deal with all the assets that are under the CL Group and how we deal with the issue of liquidating the indebtedness of the Group, both to the creditors and the Government of T&T,” he told the Guardian yesterday.
CL Financial sold its 81.4 per cent stake in Lascelles de Mercado to Gruppo Campari in a transaction that values 100 per cent of the Jamaican conglomerate’s rum assets at US$414.7 million. The assets being sold by CL Financial consist of Lascelles’ desperado spirits business, led by its rum range, including Appleton Estate, Appleton Special/White, Wray & Nephew and Coruba, as well as a local distribution company.
The sale by CL Financial excludes non-core assets, primarily insurance, transportation and investments which CL Financial is looking to divest separately. The CL Financial Group had acquired more than 86 per cent of the shareholding of Lascelles de Mercado in 2008. When asked if he feels confident now that the Government has agreed on the sale, Howai said it is difficult.
“CL Financial is a significant cost to us and it is difficult to be positive when you have such large cost being incurred. All I can say that I know that the management and the board are doing as much as they can do to get the best possible value out of the assets that exist right now,” he said.
Howai spoke to the Guardian yesterday after a media conference at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad hotel, Port-of-Spain, which brought an end to the two-day conference hosted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
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