OWTU queries Colm’s Petrotrin figures, claims

How is it that a com­pa­ny like Petrotrin, earn­ing $2 bil­lion a month, needs a “life­line of ur­gency” as Fi­nance Min­is­ter Colm Im­bert claims?

That’s the query from the Oil­fields Work­ers’ Trade Union yes­ter­day, fol­low­ing Im­bert’s de­c­la­ra­tion dur­ing a me­dia brief­ing on Mon­day.

Speak­ing af­ter the In­dus­tri­al Court ruled in the OW­TU’s favour on its ap­pli­ca­tion to halt ter­mi­na­tion of Petrotrin work­ers on Mon­day, Im­bert had said bankers now see Petrotrin as very risky and have made an at­tempt to get a “Gov­ern­ment guar­an­tee” of $1.2 bil­li­on with­in sev­en days to cov­er debt the com­pa­ny owes.

But the OW­TU said yes­ter­day Im­bert was try­ing to scare the pub­lic and dis­cred­it Petrotrin with mis­in­for­ma­tion.

The union asked, “Why does Petrotrin re­quire a ‘life­line’ of ur­gency when the com­pa­ny earns ap­prox­i­mate­ly $2 bil­lion month­ly? Man­age­ment ac­counts pre­pared by the com­pa­ny at Au­gust 31st, 2018 stat­ed Petrotrin had an in­ven­to­ry of crude oil and re­fined prod­ucts of over $2.3 bil­lion.

“The same man­age­ment ac­counts stat­ed the com­pa­ny was in pos­ses­sion of cash and cash equiv­a­lents of $875 mil­lion. What was the in­come gen­er­at­ed in Sep­tem­ber 2018? Was it in keep­ing with usu­al av­er­ages of ap­prox­i­mate­ly $2 bil­lion? What was the al­lo­ca­tion of the in­come? So how is it pos­si­ble that a com­pa­ny that earns ap­prox­i­mate­ly $2 bil­lion month­ly is in des­per­ate need of a ‘life­line?’”

The OW­TU added, “Is the Min­is­ter mis­lead­ing the pub­lic with his seem­ing ‘sur­prise’ that Petrotrin re­quires a Gov­ern­ment guar­an­tee to al­low it to re­fi­nance its debt in­stru­ments of ap­prox­i­mate­ly $1.2 bil­lion when this was dis­closed to the pub­lic dur­ing his Bud­get state­ment sev­en days ear­li­er?

“Are Petrotrin’s cred­i­tors de­mand­ing Gov­ern­ment guar­an­tees to se­cure fi­nanc­ing fa­cil­i­ties be­cause of Gov­ern­ment and board state­ments that they in­tend to end Petrotrin’s ex­is­tence?”

- by Gail Alexander

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