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Ansa banker tells businessmen: Bold investments yield benefits

4 hours 35 min ago

Managing Director of Ansa Merchant Bank Gregory Hill has told local businessmen they can emerge from the current economic slump by making savvy decisions that will yield handsome rewards in the not-so-distant future.

In his contribution to a recent AmChamTT Economic Outlook seminar, Hill said he is confident bold investments will yield benefits.

He said there had been a marked improvement in T&T’s governance and regulatory environment since the 2008/2009 Clico and HCU debacles. In addition, T&T is home to some of the largest and best private sector companies.

“These companies have strong boards of directors, diligent management and active shareholders. The regulatory environment in the country has also improved significantly, with the introduction of the Financial Institutions Act 2008, for example, while the regulatory supervision framework has also been enhanced,” he said.

Hill said while the country has had its fair share of challenges, it is an open and free society where daily discourse and an exchange of ideas takes place. He urged business leaders to be willing to step in and purchase assets that were available at “fire sale” prices.

“As fiduciaries for our shareholders, we have a duty to timely retool our companies to prepare them for the future. The present slowdown gives us the perfect opportunity to buy that piece of equipment that we ought to have bought a couple years ago, but didn’t, because production could barely keep up with demand. Think about the ways that you can re-engineer your business today, to prepare for better times tomorrow,” he said.

Noting the stable political environment, reasonably high foreign exchange reserves and a banking sector that retained strong capital buffers, Hill said local firms have a lot of spare capital that is idle because investors are uncertain about the future while firms in other parts of the world haver a high demand for their products and are growing at a phenomenal rate but are restricted by the lack of available capital to expand.

“Capital, in many ways, is analogous to water and should flow from areas of high concentration to low concentration, where more can benefit from its abundance. We have to consider partnerships, joint-ventures and M&A activity to grow inorganically, where we cannot grow organically,” Hill said.

More than $10m TCL shares traded

4 hours 36 min ago

Overall market activity resulted from trading in 11 securities of which seven advanced, none declined and four traded firm.

Trading activity on the First Tier Market registered a volume of 2,009,613 shares crossing the floor of the Exchange valued at $11,393,086.98.

Trinidad Cement Limited was the volume leader with 1,926,850 shares changing hands for a value of $10,597,675, followed by National Commercial Bank Jamaica Limited with a volume of 52,000 shares being traded for $166,400. National Enterprises Limited contributed 10,000 shares with a value of $107,700, while Scotiabank T&t Limited added 5,561 shares valued at $326,978.30.

National Flour Mills Limited enjoyed the day’s largest gain, increasing $0.30 to end the day at $2.70.

Clico Investment Fund was the only active security on the Mutual Fund Market, posting a volume of 67,145 shares valued at


It advanced by $0.05 to end at $22.56.

OPEC: Output cuts ahead of schedule

4 hours 38 min ago

VIENNA—OPEC and key non-OPEC oil producers are near their target of taking 1.8 million barrels of crude a day off global markets less than two months after agreeing to do so in efforts to push up the price of crude, Russia’s energy minister said.

Alexander Novak’s upbeat comments to reporters came at the end of the first meeting of a joint OPEC-non-OPEC committee set up to monitor compliance to the Dec. 10 agreement.

Back then, Russia and 10 other nations outside OPEC decided to join with the 13 members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to reduce the daily amount of oil on sale by 1.8 million barrels in the first six months of this year.

Novak said firm figures wouldn’t be available before the end of the month on what already had been achieved. But he estimated that “close to” 1.5 million barrels a day had been cut as of late January, adding that many countries are exceeding promised reductions.

Crude oil sold for over US$100 a barrel in the summer of 2014. Prices bottomed out, below US$30 a barrel in January 2016 but seldom rose much above US$50 for the rest of the year, prompting December’s concerted action by the producers within and outside OPEC.

Novak said that his country, which committed to the largest cut of 300,000 barrels a day, already had trimmed production by 100,000 barrels—double its projected target of 50,000 barrels by late January.

The announced reductions come after years of failed attempts, with individual OPEC members ignoring calls to hew to production targets in attempt to maximize sales and OPEC outsiders showing little interest in cooperating with the oil cartel.

But in the wake of the progress announced Sunday, Kuwaiti Oil Minister Issam A. Almarzooq, who chaired the meeting, spoke confidently of the agreement’s ultimate success.

“We will not accept anything less than 100 per cent compliance,” he said.

Cemex offer for TCL expires today

4 hours 39 min ago


The takeover bid for Trinidad Cement Limited (TCL) by Cemex expires today and the Mexican cement giant is already claiming it has surpassed one of the conditions of its offer and has obtained a 50.01 per cent stake in the Claxton Bay company.

In a notice to TCL shareholders published over the weekend, Cemex announced that the number of acceptances by TCL shareholders for the amended offer exceeded the 50.01 per cent threshold.

TCL directors advised shareholders to reject the amended offer from Cemex because it was “not fair, from a financial point of view” based on a fairness opinion done by Ernst and Young Services Limited (EYSL)

Since the takeover bid was first announced in December, TCL’s share price has risen more than 60 per cent and was trading at $5.50 on the T&T Stock Exchange yesterday..

Cemex is seeking to acquire up to 74.9 per cent of TCL and consolidate the company as part of its operations. The Mexican company first announced its take over bid last December 5 and offered shareholders $4.50 per share and a premium of 33.1 per cent over the December 1 closing price.

After that offer was rejected by the TCL board on December 23, Cemex made an amended offer on January 9, increasing its offer price from $4.50 to $5.07 and offering shareholders in Jamaica and T&T the option to be paid in US dollars.

Through its indirect subsidiary Sierra Trading, Cemex controls a 39.5 per cent stake in TCL. In 2015, Cemex participated in a rights issue at a price of $2.90 per share and increased its shareholding in TCL from 20 per cent to 39.5 per cent which resulted in a recapitalisation of the company.

Acting Energy Minister: Overhaul for energy fiscal regime

4 hours 41 min ago

Government is moving to restructure the fiscal regime for oil and gas production, taking into consideration a review by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), acting Energy Minister Colm Imbert said yesterday.

Imbert, who filled in for the ailing Franklin Khan at the T&T Energy Conference and Trade Show, which opened at the Hyatt Regency in Port-of-Spain, said it was necessary to produce a win-win situation for all to motivate energy companies to explore and increase production so that Government could optimise its revenue from the sector.

“As part of the overall strategy to increase hydrocarbon production, the ministry in 2017 will make available for exploration, acreage on land, and in marine areas, including our deep-water province. Such areas may include acreage that has been relinquished or that has reverted to the State by virtue of the expiration of contractual deadlines.

“The ministry is currently assessing prospects and in short order will be requesting nominations from upstream companies as part of the process in the selection of blocks for the bid round.

“The initiatives to stimulate the domestic energy sector will also include the review of the fiscal regime for hydrocarbon production taking into consideration the review undertaken by the International Monetary Fund and stakeholder feedback,” he said.

Imbert said the country suffered a 90 per cent decline in revenue from petroleum, from $19 billion in 2014 to less than $2 billion last year, because of the drop in oil prices. He identified reform of the Supplementary Petroleum Tax, equitable use and distribution of natural gas among downstream companies and agreement with the upstream producers on new long term gas supply contracts as issues that must be confronted.

“There is significant disparity in value accruing to Government as compared to that received by energy companies and their associates from the monetization of this country’s hydrocarbon resources. It is therefore necessary to realign the interests of the companies and the Government to ensure equitable outcomes for all parties and ultimately the people of Trinidad and Tobago,” he said.

Imbert said state-owned Petrotrin, which accounts for almost 50 per cent of the country’s total oil production, is “the key to improved oil production in T&T for the short term and long term.”

He added: “It is our best chance to reverse the current decline and the Government will therefore be examining and implementing a wide range of strategies in 2017, including joint ventures, to boost and enhance Petrotrin’s oil production, both on land and in the marine area, as outlined by the Prime Minister in his address to the nation.”

In the upstream sector, the number of wells projected for 2017 has dropped from 69 last year, to 56 development wells in 2017.

The minister said: “We need to reverse this trend since in respect of crude oil and condensate, production is expected to improve only marginally from the current production of approximately 71,000 barrels of oil per day.”

He said the Gas Master Plan report will be submitted to Parliament’s Energy Affairs Committee after it is reviewed by the Energy sub-committee of Cabinet. The Energy Task Force, headed by former finance minister Wendell Mottley, has been meeting with stakeholders in the sector about the plan, Imbert said.

“In the coming weeks, these consultations will intensify and we are optimistic that the parties will arrive at an accommodation on gas supply and pricing arrangements for the medium term.”

Imbert said gas production is expected to increase this year when the Trinidad Regional Onshore Compression Project (TROC) and Juniper come on stream. Beyond 2018,the projects to come on stream—Angelin, Savannah, South East Queen Beach and Offshore Compression—are expected to provide stability to domestic gas production, supplemented by gas from Venezuelan by 2019.

In other industry developments, Imbert said seven exploration wells will be drilled this year, including in bpTT’s Columbus Basin acreage, while BHP Billiton will continue its deep water exploration programme with two more wells scheduled for the third and fourth quarters of 2017.

In addition, T&T will continue to deepen its global footprint, he said,

“Through NGC we are participating in the infrastructural development, processing and marketing of significant proven natural gas provinces, which are located outside the jurisdiction of T&T. The major across the border prospect is the Dragon Field,” he said.

Imbert: Revenue less than expected

Sun, 01/22/2017 - 22:59

Government’s 2016 revenue was $188 million lower than projected, Finance Minister Colm Imbert has confirmed.

Speaking in Parliament, Imbert said while Government’s revised revenue projections for fiscal 2016 was $44.94 billion, the actual amount collected was $44.75 billion—$188 million lower than projected—which also led to a slightly higher deficit than projected.

“All of the data for 2016 is not yet finalized, however, the provisional out-turn on fiscal operations for 2016 has shown a deficit of $7.6 billion, which is just over $300 million more than the revised estimates.”

“The variance is mainly as a result of a higher than projected expenditure of $171 million, as well as lower than projected revenue of $188 million,” he said.

Imbert confirmed the financial situation while piloting legislation to close accounts of the 2016 Budget. He said in September 2016 when the 2017 Budget was presented, revised estimates for 2016 were included in the draft estimates for 2017.

The revised revenue was projected at $44.94 billion, compared to $60.29 billion. Revised expenditure was projected at $52.2 billion compared to $63.049 billion, at September/October 2015.

The minister said the 2016 revenue was projected at $44.94 billion, which would have had a deficit of $7.3 billion. However, the actual amount collected—$44.75 billion—which is lower than the projection, would yield a deficit of $7.6 billion.

“At the time of the budget, public servants are working on estimates because they would not have had the data for the last two or three weeks for the fiscal year, so they’re doing estimated projections,” Imbert said.

“So they estimated that revenue would be $44.9 billion but it was, in fact, $44.75 billion, so there was $188 million lower than revised revenue.

“The negative variance was due mainly to lower receipts on taxes on goods and services of $91 million, taxes on international trade of $45 million, non-tax revenue of $522 million and capital revenue of $104million.”

“So all of these were lower than anticipated receipts in these categories,” he added, detailing where lower receipts arose, including royalty on oil and gas which was lower by $206 million due to low oil prices.

Lucky Massy shopper wins car

Sun, 01/22/2017 - 22:56

Massy Stores kept the Christmas spirit going in grand style, when the winner of the 2016 Get the Gift that Keeps on Giving promotion was recently awarded his prize.

Kurt Williams was the lucky winner of the top prize, a brand-new Hyundai Elantra, at the prize-giving ceremony held at the Massy Stores headquarters on Wrightson Road. Other prize winners won shopping sprees at Massy Stores at a value of $3,000 each.

The Get the Gift that Keeps on Giving promotion was specially geared to reward Massy Card holders who qualified with purchases of over $200. Massy Stores, Massy Distribution, and Massy Motors came together to execute the initiative, with the aim of showing appreciation to loyal Massy Card holders.

Derek Winford, CEO, Massy Stores, thanked Williams for his steadfast patronage, and said the company will continue its dedication to advancing value for its shoppers and communities.

“Our winner here today represents all of our customers who form the Massy family, and we are most appreciative that they choose us to service their needs,” Winford said. “We are pleased to drive initiatives such as the Get the Gift that Keeps on Giving promotion, which show our commitment to honouring our shoppers and contributing real benefits to our communities.”

The Get the Gift that Keeps on Giving promotion was officially launched on November 30 and more than 176,000 entries were received with the winners randomly selected.

Minister meets Uber officials tomorrow

Sun, 01/22/2017 - 22:50

Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan will meet with representatives of Uber tomorrow to discuss concerns about the legality of the high tech transportation service.

“The meeting has been confirmed for Tuesday and I understand Uber’s representative will be coming in specifically for that meeting. We will meet at the office of the Ministry of Works. They are coming into the country and we will be flexible with their time,” he told the T&T Guardian.

The minister said he has nothing against the recently launched service in T&T. His problem is with “anyone coming into the country and breaking the law.”

Sinanan explained: “We have always had a concern in Trinidad and Tobago with PH drivers. What Uber was able to do was bring this conversation immediately on the drawing board. I have nothing against Uber as I have used Uber in foreign countries.”

He said at tomorrow’s meeting, ministry officials will point out the restrictions with the use of private vehicles and how the laws operate here. After it is up to Uber to try to conform to the local laws, he said.

Sinanan said T&T cannot “run from development and technology” it is important to abide by the laws as they stand until those laws are changed.

“That is our concern,” he said.

Central Bank not making cents

Sun, 01/22/2017 - 22:49

The one cent coin is to be eliminated from T&T’s national currency denominations, while the metal composition of the five, ten and 25 cent coins will be altered.

The move, which was announced on the Central Bank’s website over the weekend, is expected save Government an estimated $15 million in minting costs yearly. The changes will take place over the next few months.

The Central Bank said: “A single one cent coin currently costs 21 cents to mint and each year the Bank mints on average 45 million one cent coin pieces.”

This savings was calculated at approximately $9,450,000.

Additionally, the new metal composition of the five, ten and 25 cent coins will contain a 90 per cent steel core and less than ten per cent nickel and copper overlay. The Central Bank said the new coins will look and feel the same as current coins.

More information will be given over the next few months about where coins can be redeemed, donation drives and publication of the cash price rounding rules.

The Central Bank has the exclusive right to issue and redeem currency notes and coins in T&T. With the approval of the Ministry of Finance, the bank makes decisions on the denomination, substrate and characteristics of local notes and coins.

In the past, the bank has issued limited amounts of one dollar coins to mark special events such as the United Nations Food For All campaign in 1979, as well as commemorative coins in celebration of special events and occasions of national significance.

More gains for TCL shares

Sat, 01/21/2017 - 00:25

Overall market activity resulted from trading in seven securities of which four advanced, none declined and three traded firm.

Trading activity on the First Tier Market registered a volume of 181,914 shares crossing the floor of the Exchange valued at $714,375.55. Trinidad Cement Limited was the volume leader with 88,796 shares changing hands for a value of $483,134.70. National Flour Mills Limited contributed 40,879 shares with a value of $98,109.60, while T&T NGL Limited added 1,000 shares valued at $20,520.

Trinidad Cement Limited enjoyed the day’s largest gain, increasing $0.30 to end the day at $5.44.

Clico Investment Fund was the only active security on the Mutual Fund Market, posting a volume of 1,000 shares valued at $22,510. It remained at $22.51.

ATTIC urges caution on Uber

Sat, 01/21/2017 - 00:24

The Association of T&T Insurance Companies (ATTIC) is calling for the Motor Vehicle and Road Traffic Act to be updated to accommodate Uber and other technologically driven initiatives.

In a statement released ahead of an expected meeting between Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan and Uber officials next week to discuss the legality of Uber in T&T, ATTIC identified two concerns which should be addressed.

ATTIC is concerned about the suggestion that private cars be used in Uber’s transport service when the law states that a vehicle registered for private use must only be used for that purpose.

“We draw your attention to the Road Traffic Act Chapter 48:50 in which it is an offence for a person to use his/her vehicle for a purpose other than for which it is registered. This therefore means that a person who uses a privately registered motor vehicle for the purpose of hire or reward would be committing an offence,” the association said.

ATTIC said motorists who register to become Uber drivers should ensure they are complying with the laws of T&T.

The association is also concerned about the insurance implications of the service.

“Under the Motor Vehicle Insurance (third-party risks) Act Chapter 48:51 provision is made for the protection of third parties against risks arising out of the use of motor vehicles,” ATTIC said, noting that the Act places an obligation on owners of motor vehicles to hold insurance policies or other securities against third party risks.

They advised that potential passengers of Uber consider whether the vehicle’s motor insurance coverage will respond in the event of any incident given that some policies for private vehicles exclude driving for hire.

For owners of vehicles, ATTIC suggested they contact their insurer to determine whether “their policies may be voidable given that the vehicle is being used for both private activity as well as in the provision of the Uber service.”

Juniper platform sets sail for offshore Trinidad

Sat, 01/21/2017 - 00:23

BP T&T LLC (bpTT) yesterday announced that the new Juniper offshore platform has begun its journey towards the southeast coast of Trinidad where it will be installed as bpTT’s 14th offshore installation.

The Juniper project is a US$2 billion investment in T&T and one of BP’s largest start-up projects in 2017.

“A little over two years ago the Juniper project was sanctioned and, at that time, it represented a significant milestone as an important part of the future of bpTT,” said Norman Christie, bpTT regional president. “Today, we are pleased to see the project progress even further and closer to start up with the sail away of the jacket and topsides.

“This is a fantastic achievement by the project team and is a very visible sign of our commitment to maintaining a successful long term business in T&T.”

The Juniper project comprises a platform made up of jacket, piles and topside, and corresponding subsea infrastructure which will be installed 50 miles offshore in 360 feet of water. It is the sixth platform that bpTT fabricated in T&T.

As bpTT’s first subsea field development, Juniper will have a production capacity of approximately 590 million standard cubic feet a day (mmscfd), which will flow through the Mahogany B offshore hub.

“The Juniper project is significant for both BP and T&T,” Christie added. “At the peak of the project, there were over 750 workers on-site at TOFCO—95 per cent being Trinidadian and more than half from the surrounding La Brea community. The gas from Juniper will be the largest volume of gas brought into the country in several years.

“I look forward to seeing this project starting up and bringing much needed natural gas that can help alleviate the supply and demand imbalance in T&T.”

The Juniper topside was fabricated at the TOFCO fabrication yard in La Brea, Trinidad and measure 145 feet tall to the top of the helideck and weigh about 5,100 short tons.

The jacket and piles, fabricated at Gulf Marine Fabricators in Aransas Pass, Texas, sailed to Trinidad in December 2016. The jacket is 389 feet tall and weighs roughly 5,200 short tons. The platform installation is being handled by the Thialf, the largest deepwater construction vessel operated by Heerema Marine Contractors

TCL now worth up to $2.32 billion

Sat, 01/21/2017 - 00:21


Along with an opinion that said the amended offer made for Trinidad Cement Limited shares by Cemex was “not fair, from a financial point of view,” Ernst and Young Services Limited (EYSL) provided a valuation report on the estimated value of the local cement company and its shares.

According to that report, which provides an estimate of the fair market value of TCL’s ordinary shares as at December 31, the fair value of the shares ranges between $5.60 and $6.18.

EYSL used income and market approaches in their valuation analysis. The income approach yielded a per share value of $5.13, while the market approach yielded a per share value of $6.64.

“Overall, on the basis of our review and subject to the assumptions and limitations noted herein, in our opinion the fair market value of 100 per cent of TCL’s issued and outstanding ordinary shares, as at 31 December, 2016, is in the range of $2.09 billion to $2.32 billion, or $5.60 to $6.18 per ordinary share,” the EYSL report said.

Asked to comment on the decision of TCL directors to reject the amended Cemex offer, JMMB Investments financial analyst Racine Mckenzie said: “Directors’ advice to shareholders to reject the offer is a reflection of the company’s intrinsic value range of $5.60 to $6.18. However, considering the foreign exchange limitations, the revised offer providing US$0.76 per share has certainly grabbed investors’ attention.”

Commenting on the valuation of the shares as laid out in the EYSL report, McKenzie said: “It is reasonable and I think there is further upside to the valuation price range. Think of it this way, any acquirer would try to purchase an entity at a discount to its intrinsic value.”

She said in large measure TCL’s performance will be affected by economic activity in T&T.

“TCL’s performance over the last years has been sporadic. Looking at nine months in 2016, we can see a drop in revenues, down 12 per cent and profit after tax down significantly (84.6 per cent),” she said.

“The majority of TCL’s revenue is derived from local cement which has been on the decline. At the end of 2016, local cement sales contracted 20 per cent year-on-year, the lowest in the past six years due to the slowdown in government spending.

“Based on the Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP) for 2017, which has a total budget of $5 billion compared to $7 billion in 2016, construction activity for 2017 is anticipated to remain subdued. As such, TCL is expected to grapple with suppressed profitability for 2017.”

“Trading activity spiked following the original offer. TCL has been seen climbing approximately 61 per cent from $3.38 to the current $5.44 per share as at January 20, 2017.

“Based on current demand demonstrated, TCL’s price can trade higher until the January 24 offer deadline.”

NGC CNG president: Make PBR a green route

Sat, 01/21/2017 - 00:19

The removal of taxes on vehicles manufactured to use compressed natural gas (CNG) is one of many incentives for citizens to convert to that fuel, Works Minister Rohan Sinanan said yesterday.

“Additionally you have the option to convert your traditional vehicle to a CNG powered source. There are companies in Trinidad and Tobago that now offer this service and the conversion will save you money on your regular fuel expenses in the long run.

“Going green for our planet may seem like an additional duty for a long list of responsibilities but the end result is worth it,” he said at the inauguration of CNG supply at the Ramco Express Service Station in Orange Grove, Trincity.

Sinanan said perceived difficulties with accessing CNG fuel have been dispelled.

The minister said he was amazed at how quickly a vehicle’s gas tank can be filled with CNG: “You look at a bus that could be filled in five minutes and look at a maxi in three minutes and it is almost the same time for a diesel vehicle.”

He said the Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) purchased 35 new CNG buses to add to its fleet in 2014 and other companies will be doing the same.

“It is important that PTSC, one of the first companies to support the CNG drive, is continuing to procure more CNG vehicles. In 2015, NGC CNG introduced a grant that is a great incentive aimed at hundreds of diesel powered maxi taxis. The programme allowed hundreds of owners to alter their fuel system to one that allows the CNG alternative,” Sinanan said.

Underscoring the importance of protecting the environment at a time when the planet is under threat, the minister added: “More traditional fuels like diesel and propane which emit hydro carbons cause adverse effects in our environment and jeopardises lives on this planet. We need to view this state of affairs as a crisis. Climate change is the greatest environmental threat that we have ever faced.”

Curtis Mohammed, president of NGC CNG, said the CNG equipment being installed at gas stations can comfortably cater to 700 customers per day at about three minutes to fill the average vehicle.

“With a growing number of CNG mass transit vehicles in the country, NGC CNG is suggesting to our policy makers to follow through with a plan to make the Priority Bus Route a green route,” he said.

PM Rowley: State enterprises falling short

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 23:42

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley says many state enterprises are failing in achieving their mandates and some are in need of serious governance reform.

In the feature address at the Ministry of Finance’s annual State Boards Corporate Governance Seminar at the Hyatt Regency in Port-of-Spain yesterday, Dr Rowley said while state enterprises have a critical role to play in delivering goods and services to the country, too many of them were missing the mark in terms of performance.

“We also need to face the harsh reality that, generally, too many of our state-owned enterprises have been underperforming—some much more than others. Some might even have deviated so far from their original purpose as to become the problem they were created to solve.”

The prime minister added that though a challenge, Government had dedicated itself to treating with the performance related issues at all state enterprises.

“This government is committed to addressing the performance issues of all our state enterprises, defaulting or otherwise. We do so, in part, by reforming the way they are governed. In other words, we need to re-examine our corporate governance structures as they relate to the state sector,” he said.

Dr Rowley added that to combat the issue of poorly performing state enterprises, a shift in attitudes is a necessary step in the corporate governance strengthening process with the Ministry of Finance taking the lead.

“For certain, the problem also involves attitudinal changes to our duties. It is against an understanding of this aspect of our challenges in this sector why only recently the Minister of Finance saw it fit and very necessary to issue a stern circular memorandum to all management and boards in the state enterprise sector that the timely submission of financial reports, whether audited or otherwise, is an uncompromising demand going forward.”

The prime minister said the level of inefficiency of state enterprises had manifested itself in different ways.

“Most of the commercially-oriented state-owned enterprises have accumulated significant losses, requiring large transfers of cash support from the Central Government. Additionally, state-owned enterprises have contracted sizable debts, which they have not been able to service, leaving the burden as permanent liabilities to the Central Government.

“Instances of weak project planning, questionable procurement procedures and poor financial management practices are all too prevalent in the sector “ he said.

Dr Rowley added that extracting the best performance from state enterprises required the alignment of all the players involved in the corporate governance process.

He said: “The experts will tell you that n the state enterprise sector good governance starts with a clear definition of the respective roles of the major players: the minister (and by extension, his ministry); the board of the enterprise and the management of the business.”

Uber meeting with local authorities

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 23:38

Local representatives of Uber say they have been meeting with the relevant authorities in the private and public sector and will continue to do so to ensure they meet the legal requirements of operating in T&T.

In response to a statement from the Ministry of Works cautioning the public about using the high tech transporation service,

Uber said: “For the past few months, Uber has been engaging stakeholders in the private and public sector and has expressed its willingness to provide the citizens of T&T with safe, reliable and inexpensive transportation option.”

Uber began operations in T&T on Monday morning and the Works Ministry is seekibng legal advice to determine if the service can continue to operate within this country’s legislative framework.

In an emailed response to questions from the T&T Guardian, Uber said their presence in T&T will contribute to the local economy.

“Uber’s entry into this important Caribbean market provides opportunities for hundreds of Trinidadians and Tobagonians to be their own bosses and generate an independent income. It expands the transportation options available to residents and visitors alike. And it provides additional safeguards for users of all forms of transportation, not available today. Uber wants to be a part of the solution and of the modernization of Trinidad’s mobility systems and tourist economy.

T&T and Netherlands link on agriculture

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 23:37

Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat recently met with Jules Bijl, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to T&T, to discuss collaborations on export opportunities for cocoa and cocoa products to the Netherlands and the potential for the horticultural sector with youth involvement.

“We need some help in our horticulture sector,” Rambharat said.

This led to discussions on possible technical assistance that can focus on an evaluation of the local market, the varieties that will do well here and how young people can grow and develop businesses in the sector.

Bijl said: “It is important for us both to know what each of our country is doing in the agriculture sector so we can see how we can help each other.”

The ministry will collaborate with the Dutch Embassy on two seminars in February.

$7.2m in trades in TTSE

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 23:33

Overall market activity resulted from trading in seven securities of which three advanced, three declined and one traded firm.

Trading activity on the First Tier Market registered a volume of 453,962 shares crossing the floor of the Exchange valued at $7,222,916.85. Trinidad Cement Limited was the volume leader with 355,228 shares changing hands for a value of $1,836,166.70, followed by ANSA McAL Limited with a volume of 50,000 shares being traded for $3,299,500.T&T NGL Limited contributed 30,203 shares with a value of $617,039.79, while the West Indian Tobacco Company Limited added 8,613 shares valued at $1,094,072.36.

T&T NGL Limited enjoyed the day’s largest gain, increasing $0.13 to end the day at $20.43. Conversely, ANSA McAL Limited suffered the day’s greatest loss, falling $0.26 to close at $65.99.

The Mutual Fund Market did not record any activity.

Chubby now available on Amazon

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 23:31

Chubby, the first brand of soft drink available in a kid-friendly size, with fun flavours and an internationally recognised mascot that children love, is now available on

“Through the past 26 years, Chubby has become a global success and is also a beloved drink of children around the world,” said Eesa Mohammed, vice president of marketing for SM Jaleel, manufacturers of the popular drink.

“Our move to an online platform as large as helps us to fill the sizeable demand for Chubby soft drinks throughout the USA, making it easier for customers to purchase Chubby and have it conveniently delivered directly to their homes.”

Chubby is a flagship product for SM Jaleel, and also for T&T. It is available on five continents, and within the United States it can be found in stores like Walgreens, Rite Aid, Publix and other large retail chain-stores.

Purchases online for delivery in the US can be made by searching “Chubby Soft Drinks” on

Volume leader JMMB gains $0.03

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 00:05

Overall market activity resulted from trading in 11 securities of which four advanced, three declined and four traded firm.

JMMB Group Ltd was the volume leader with 135,700 shares changing hands for a value of $128,915. GraceKennedy Ltd contributed 40,210 shares with a value of $106,556.50, while Scotia Investment Jamaica Ltd added 30,000 shares valued at $63,000.

JMMB Group Ltd enjoyed the day’s largest gain, increasing $0.03 to end the day at $0.95.

Conversely, T&T NGL Ltd suffered the day’s greatest loss, falling $0.18 to close at $20.30.

Clico Investment Fund was the only active security on the Mutual Fund Market, posting a volume of 2,350 shares valued at $53,110. It remained at $22.60.