Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 17th 2014 Contents A15
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The Phoenix Gas Processors'
initial public offering (IPO)
should be ready by April,
Finance Minister Larry Howai
told the T&T Guardian.
"The timeline still needs to be
firmed up but my estimate is by
April as the audit has to be
completed, the IPO document
has to be revised and the
Securities and Exchange
Commission (SEC's) approval
has to be obtained," he said.
Howai said an independent
firm of accountants will be used
for the process.
"We have amended the
allocation formula and shall be
using an independent firm of
accountants to assist with
managing the issue process," he
said. On Thursday, Prime
Minister Kamla Persad-
Bissessar said the IPO had been
approved at the weekly Cabinet
meeting. A week earlier, in an
address to the nation, she had
identified the Phoenix Park IPO
as one of the means her
Government would use to raise
revenue following a $7.4 million
budgetary shortfall caused by
falling oil prices.
There was a sharp rise in oil
prices yesterday after the
International Energy Agency
predicted drillers would reduce
production this year and that
lower prices would draw
demand for crude.
West Texas Intermediate
(WTI), which is within the price
range of T&T's light sweet
crudes, jumped US$2.44, or 5
per cent, to close at US$48.69 a
barrel. ---Raphael John-Lall
Jamaica is the first country in the region
to approved acquisition of Columbus
Communications by Cable & Wireless
Communications (CWC). Approval was
granted by that island s Science, Tech-
nology, Energy and Mining Minister
In making the announcement on Thurs-
day, Paulwell said he obtained major con-
cessions for consumers in return for the
approval of the acquisition by CWC of
Columbus International s assets in
Jamaica Limited (Flow) and Columbus Net-
works Jamaica Limited (CNJL).
Approval by Jamaica is only the second
in a series of hurdles for proposed acqui-
sition which is also subject to regulatory
approval in T&T and Barbados, as well as
the approval of the US anti-trust author-
ities and that country s telecommunications
regulator. At a meeting in London in early
December, CWC shareholders gave
No approval is needed from the regu-
latory agency for the Eastern Caribbean,
the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications
Authority (Ectel), on behalf of Dominica,
Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St
Vincent and the Grenadines.
Up to late yesterday, there was no word
from local regulatory body, the Telecom-
munications Authority of T&T (TATT), on
the status of the CWC/Columbus request.
Paulwell, who said there was little the
Jamaican Government could do to block
the multibillion-dollar merger, said CWC
had agreed to a number of provisions that
would benefit consumers over time.
"What I have sought to do is to go
beyond the law and to extract certain con-
ditions, which I m pleased that the com-
pany has accepted fulsomely, because I
wanted to ensure that we would preserve
competition as much as possible and pro-
tect the interest of the consumer," he said.
Concessions include commitments for
CWC to preserve access to Flow s undersea
fibre cables, LIME poles, as well as other
broadband entry points to the country to
Digicel and other competitors.
Paulwell said these would ensure that
customers receive the best value, as well
as encourage new players to enter the mar-
ket, which could drive down the high cost
of Internet connectivity in the island.
Meanwhile, in a position paper released
to the media yesterday, the Communication
Workers Union called on TATT to "seri-
ously consider the negative fallout of this
acquisition for the telecommunications
sector with respect to the envisaged reg-
ulated competition in the sector; for the
pricing structure within the markets; for
the social and cultural benefits that the
society could derive; for the human
resource development factor and for the
economic development of Trinidad and
The union is warning of major job loses
with the attendant economic fallout and
a negative impact on the pricing structure
within the telecommunications sector
because of fewer players in the market.
The CWU added: "The merged opera-
tions would also directly impact on the
shareholding structure of TSTT and its
vested interest in NEL and consequently
have a trickledown effect on investment
opportunities for local who would have
been seduced to invest in NEL for personal
and national interest."
The union called on TATT to reject the
request for approval of the acquisition.
HAVANA---The success of President Barack
Obama s new Cuba policy depends partly on hotel
Not just hand towels, but working air conditioning,
breakfast waffles and the hundreds of other amenities
that American tourists will demand when they flood
to Cuba in numbers that travel experts expect to
double this year, thanks to the loosening of travel
US-based Cuba travel companies say there s simply
no more room in the handful of top-end Cuban
hotels that meet international standards. That means
that if visitors come in numbers as great as expected,
they will have to find lodging either in grim, lower-
end state facilities or one of the most vibrant parts
of Cuba s small, new private business sector: fam-
ily-run guest houses that offer independent sources
of private income to thousands of Cubans.
That scenario is exactly what Obama said he hopes
to achieve. When he announced the policy on Decem-
ber 17, the president said that the US wants to be
"a partner in making the lives of ordinary Cubans
a little bit easier, more free, more prosperous."
The first test of the new US approach may come
down to where new American travelers choose to
lay their heads at night.
"A significant increase in US travelers would over-
whelm the system and overwhelm the availability of
the Cubans to keep tabs and keep controls on these
travelers," a US official involved in the execution of
the new policy told The Associated Press yesterday.
"The hotels aren t going to be able to handle it.
You re going to see a spillover into the private sector,
which is a good thing."
The official spoke on condition of anonymity due
to lack of authorisation to speak publicly about the
new policy. (AP)
The Central Bank sold US$200 million to
authorised dealers on Thursday in what was its
first foreign exchange intervention for the year.
The sale was aimed at easing some of the
outstanding demands for foreign exchange
especially those coming from the business
In a brief statement yesterday, the bank said:
"This first sale was also timed to bring relief to
the market as January typically sees lower
conversions of foreign exchange by energy
The Central Bank is due to release its
Monetary Policy Announcement on January 30,
at which time it will provide details on the
impact of falling energy prices on the country's
balance of payments and the domestic foreign
Howai: Phoenix Park IPO likely by April
AT THE PM'S CHAMBERS
Private sector representatives Nigel Birju, president of the Siparia Chamber of Commerce, left, Rajkumar Ghesewans, vice president of
the Siparia Chamber of Commerce, Kenneth Boodhu, president of the Sangre Grande Chamber of Commerce and Seunarine Hardath at
the meeting with Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann's. PHOTO: SHIRLEY BAHADUR
Central Bank makes
Hotel test for
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