Browne baulks at $88m LIAT share pricetag

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua – Prime Minister Gaston Browne says Antigua and Barbuda is prepared to acquire further shares in the cash-strapped regional airline, but is unwilling to pay an estimated $88 million (US$44million) being asked by Barbados for the sale of its shares in the airline.

The two countries have been holding discussions on the acquisition of the shares and last week Browne told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that the talks were still ongoing despite media reports in Bridgetown that they had broken down.

Speaking on a radio programme here, Prime Minister Browne said if St. John’s had to settle at the asking price of $88 million “that would be a steal for Barbados.

“We are not in the process of giving away money. We are in the process of creating value and to get fair value for the people of Antigua and Barbuda, so as far as I am concerned, and I have said this to the Prime Minister of Barbados [Mia Mottley], so she knows my thinking, telling her that discussions cannot start at US$44 million.

“So she knows the position and she has since come down,” Browne said, adding that he was looking to an amicable settlement of the negotiations and in the event that does not occur, his administration is prepared to invest directly in the airline.

“And my colleagues will tell you that it was always my first option. The issue about buying Barbados’ shares came about as a result of an impasse in which Barbados said it could not go any further, sell the planes, we said, look we cannot be a successful shrinking LIAT.Read More..

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