In what appears to be a complete 180 degree turn, Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister has squashed plans to purchase Barbados shares in cash strapped LIAT.
Instead, Gatson Browne said he will make a direct investment.
He said over the weekend that he has told Prime Minister Mia Mottley that Antigua and Barbuda has found $40 million to pump into LIAT and no longer wants to buy Barbados’ shares.
According to Browne, the money is to come from a loan from the Venezuela-based ALBA Bank.
“I have indicated that the Antigua and Barbuda government has $40 million that could be made available to capitalise LIAT and that there should be a fresh capital call in which we will have the existing shareholders and possibly new shareholders recapitalise LIAT.” He said.
This according to him will be followed by a restructuring of LIAT to ensure that it becomes a little leaner and to ensure that it can at least make an operating profit going forward.
He said while there will have further discussions the idea that we will purchase Barbados’s shares, that is no longer on the table.
He said however that this would have to be approved by LIAT’s other shareholders.
There was an attempt by the Government of Barbados to liquidate some of its equity in LIAT and the Government of Antigua and Barbuda has expressed some interest in stepping into that breach.
But what Barbados asked for, was something that Antigua deemed an inappropriate value and the negotiations stalled.