Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 10th 2013 Contents OCTOBER 2013 • WEEK TWO www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
COMMENTARY | BG3
Chief editor-business: ANTHONY WILSON
Editing and design: NATASHA SAIDWAN
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In November 2012, the Business Guardian
published a Question and Answer inter-
view that was done with Tim Pennington,
the chief financial officer of Cable &
Wireless Communications (CWC), the
UK company that owns 49 per cent of local
telecommunications provider TSTT, which is
51 per cent owned by National Enterprises Ltd.
In that interview, Mr Pennington disclosed
that CWC was in the process of refocusing the
company to concentrate on the Caribbean and
Central American regions. As a result of that
policy, CWC sold two of its profitable businesses
in Macau and Monaco and the Islands.
Mr Pennington also made it clear that CWC
was very interested in acquiring a controlling
stake in TSTT and that if the T&T Government,
which controls NEL, was not prepared to give
up control of TSTT to CWC, the UK firm would
be prepared to sell its 49 per cent stake in the
Here s a condensed version of what Tim Pen-
nington, the CWC executive, said nearly a year
ago about his company s relationships in T&T:
Later in the interview, Mr Pennington was
asked why would it be in the Government s
interest to give up control to CWC. This is what
Assuming CWC is not successful in getting
control of TSTT, what s the next step and how
It seems to me that rather than having a full
and thorough debate on the rights and wrongs
of maintaining or giving up control of TSTT,
the Government has ignored the issue.
To say that the issue of who should control
TSTT is on the Government s backburner would
be an understatement. The issue is on a stove
that is collecting dust in a backroom.
But is it appropriate for a Government that
is seeking to encourage foreign investment to
ignore a significant, existing foreign investor?
On the other hand, it is also obvious that
CWC has not been successful in selling the 49
per cent stake in TSTT and the Government s
posture must be very frustrating for the foreign
It is doubtful that the status quo can remain
unchanged for much longer.
Disclosure: The author of this commentary
owns shares in Angostura Holdings Ltd.
Update on Hine cognac sale
On Tuesday, a senior official at the
Ministry of Finance disclosed that
Thomas Hine & Company was sold by
CL World Brands to EDV SAS in
September for €52.4 million (which is
about US$70 million or TT$450
The original reporting of the
transaction was that Hine was sold for
between €40 million (US$53.5 million)
and €60 million.
According to the ministry source, the
€52.4 million will be held in escrow in
the CL World Brands euro account,
pending the settlement agreement
between Government and the CL
The 2011 financial statement of CL
World Brands states that the company
owns the entire ordinary share capital
of Angostura SA, which itself owns 100
per cent of Thomas Hine & Co, which is
incorporated in France.
In April, CL World Brands and
Angostura sold Scotch whisky producer
Burn Stewart to South African spirit
producer Distell for an initial payment
of US$229 million, net of assumed
liabilities, and a contingent payment of
as much as US$15 million. CL World
Brands held 71 per cent of Burn
According to Clico's 2011 financial
statement, the financially troubled
insurance company owns 42 per cent of
CL World Brands, which was valued at
$365.8 million in the company's latest
published accounts. It is assumed that
Clico's parent company, CL Financial,
owns the balance of CL World Brands.
Founded in 1763, Hine reported
turnover of €14 million in 2012.
Where is TSTT heading?
Tim Pennington, the chief financial officer of Cable & Wireless Communications
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