General — 27 September 2017 — by Adele Ramos
BTL reports $20.6 mil  in profits

GOB to take 48.5 million new preference shares  for Belize Bank loan taken on at nationalization

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Sept. 25, 2017–Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL), which the Barrow administration nationalized back in 2009, is scheduled to hold its annual general meeting this Wednesday evening when it plans to declare dividends to shareholders, which include the Government of Belize and several minority shareholders.

Documents released in advance of the meeting indicate that the company, which reported revenue of $147.9 million for the financial year ending March 2017, made a profit of $20.6 million during the period. That’s a decline of roughly 7% from the $22.1 million earned for the year ending March 2016. BTL said that the fall in profit was due to expenses incurred for system upgrades.

The company’s asset base is worth $334 million, and shareholder equity is $272 million.

Earnings per share are down from 45 cents last year to 42 cents this year.

Financial Secretary Joseph Waight told Amandala this evening that the Government is expecting to receive $4 to $5 million in dividend payments.

We note that at this year’s AGM, shareholders will be called to approve a resolution for the issuance of 48.5 million new preference shares. Those shares will be sold at $1.00 per share and they would have a priority call on dividends with a fixed preferential payment of 4% per annum.

We asked Waight about the issuance of the new BTL shares, and whether they are intended for the Government of Belize. He told us that they are, and they would be issued over time to settle the $48.5 million loan which the Government had acquired from BTL at the time of nationalization. That debt was owed to Michael Ashcroft’s Belize Bank/BCB Holdings, and the tab forms a part of the Government of Belize’s obligation to the former shareholders of the company.

BTL’s auditor is Pennell Kerr Foster.

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