Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Battle over control of the Board of Directors of the Citrus Products Factory in Belize.

** The citrus growers life in rural tropical Belize
** processing of citrus juices
** Citrus orchids in the tropics of Belize
** Citrus being processed at the Pomona, Stann Creek Valley factory.

The struggle for control of the Board of Directors of the Citrus Products Factory goes on with a March this morning.
The CGA, or Citrus Growers Association under the leadership of Denkins, Bowman and Zabeneh continues the struggle to wrest the control of the Board of Directors of the Citrus Factory, a separate owned company.
It is the only citrus factory in Belize. The major orchard owners and producers of citrus orchids in the country have pulled out of the older CGA and formed a new association. They are still delivering to the Citrus Factory.
There was an interesting discussion about the situation on different media television channels this morning about what is at stake.
As I understand it, the CGA had run the citrus industry into the ground through mismanagment and the taking on of huge loans, which were distributed to member growers. Enter a new group of leaders and they put the business on a new footing by getting investment of $60 million dollars and assuming the old loans, around $30 million or so, the old management of the CGA had run up. With the investment from Banks in Barbados, they bought a whole lot of new machinery and installed a newer value added component to the citrus production at the factory. This is in the form of packaged juices sold to Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Guyana. They probably could sell all of it in Central America which is closer also? Part of the agreement for the new capital investment, was that the BANKS assuming the risks, wanted control of the BOARD OF DIRECTORS of the Citrus Factory company. The contract was written up in such a way that the CGA owned 51% of the Factory shares, but did not have majority seats on the Board of Directors, which was controlled by the new investment group, to protect their investment. The struggle since; is all about control of the Board of Directors. The CGA under rabble rousing leadership is now marching today they say, to protest, that the signing they agreed too, with the investment contract over who controlled the Board of Directors needs to be annulled and the old guard CGA group who nearly wrecked the citrus industry before, want to control the FACTORY again. The citrus industry is finally making money most years. Nor do they have debts, since investment in shares is different than by loans. You don't have to meet any payments on share investments, on loans you get crippled by interest and principal repayments and have nothing left to upgrade and re-invest in production, but the BANKS in Barbados that put up the $60 million, do want a profitable Factory and a dividend. This is their only source of financial return.

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