Notes From a Native Son – Is There a Wider Lesson In Corporate Barbados From The Almond Crisis?

Hal Austin

Introduction:
It is always sad news when a business runs in to commercial trouble, but the Almond Resorts car crash was well telegraphed. It is clear that the so-called all-inclusive business model, although attractive in theory in that it gives consumers a rough guide as to how much they will spend, in practice it is untenable because providers see it as a good area in which to cut costs, stretch revenue streams and, more worrying, they need to fabricate a story of social pathology on the outside to terrify customers in to staying within their walls.

As a model for producing sound cash flow and profitability, the jury is still out; and as for being a model built on fear, that is a matter for governments. Even so, this negative policy not only denies visitors from enjoying the real hospitality of local people, it also gives the operators the freedom to manage the supply of ‘free’ food and drink by conveniently running out of supplies at the most inconvenient times and limiting the other services offered to their captive customers as a central part of business practice.

In tax terms, payments are often made outside the local jurisdiction and drip fed in to the local business as and when required. This means that in terms of the company’s revenue and profit and loss, this can easily be manipulated by the firm’s accountants to the advantage of its shareholders and executives. Almond Beach Village may not indulge in all or any of these practices, but as a 400-bed facility with reported debt of about Bds$100m, something has gone seriously wrong.

One business model the owners could now consider is the commercial sale of a lease hold on each room, with a management company retaining the overall running of the operation. So, for example, the sale of each room to local and overseas investors at a price of about $275,000 should bring in a cash return of about $110m, more than enough to clear the outstanding debt and cover the cost of refurbishing the site for a re-launch. With low yields on investment in most developed markets, this should be an attraction to a number of overseas investors, especially those with self-invested personal pensions from the UK, and wealthy and mass affluent local people. Let us assume that the average room would be void for 65 days of the year, leaving 300 days of commercial activity at a modest occupancy rate of about $800 a night, bringing in about $240000 a year, inclusive of VAT. Again let us assume that the management company would charge about 35 per cent of revenue, before non-VAT taxation, about $84000, leaving the leaseholder with a pre-tax figure of about $156000 a year, or over $64m in total for all investors. With a ten year lease, that would give a broad overall figure of about $1.56m each, and on a 25 year lease of about $3.9m. Of course these are make-believe figures, but such returns would be magical in a low-interest, low-yielding investment environment. Even if the void period went beyond two months and some charges, such as the share of utilities (electricity, water, domestic chores, security and telephone usage etc were higher than anticipated) the profitability would still be stellar compared with similar investments in Europe or North America.

Due Diligence:
Whatever the style or business model, the important thing about investing in a company is that due diligence should be carried out. The first thing in any due diligence, apart from making sure the books are accurate, is stress-testing the business for debt servicing. What is the worst-case scenario? What is the best-case scenario? Would the business be able to cope in either extreme? In any case, it is important that the moderately paid employees of Almond Resorts do not use their life savings to invest in a business that may be on its last legs. Investments call for heads, not hearts; sentiment has no place in a rational investment strategy. Protecting jobs is a noble cause, but it is not the basis for personal investments. Whatever the situation, it is important that people do not borrow money from banks to invest, not even in good companies.

Fundamentally, the difference in investing in a company, as against a commodity, is that due diligence is not only about looking at the books, forward-bookings, etc. It is also about looking at the business environment for that firm, including macro-economic tailwinds, such as the source of core business and the medium and long-term future of that business. In the case of Barbadian tourism, that core business is the UK market. I am yet to see a proper local analysis of the UK market, even from the central bank. The fact is, to cut out the background noise, the OECD has just announced that the UK economy is heading back in to recession. When measured against the eurozone sovereign crisis and the continuing spectacular story of the leading developing economies, any investments in the tourism and leisure sectors in Barbados call for profound judgement.

Remember that if Four Seasons goes ahead, and it looks as if it will, there will be enormous competition at the top end for accommodation; and if new players enter the market and other existing ones upgrade their facilities, competition will be robust. The economic outlook in the eurozone is at best modest, at worst it is not yet out of the woods. Investors who have an unrealistic expectation of the UK tourism market must remember that UK banks have a huge exposure to French banks and the French are heavily leveraged to southern European economies.

Equally, with the US not yet out of the woods, there is the risk of great contamination for Chinese and other Asian and Latin American banks with their huge exposure to US treasuries. China alone has an exposure of over US$3 trn, so a further down-grading of the Greenback would impact equally as heavily on the Yuan. And there is no likelihood of the over-cautious, saving obsessed Germans flocking to Barbadian beaches in a hurry. In any case, German economic success is built upon the hard-pressed southern Europe economies. There is simply no way out.

Given all these factors, due diligence is still the key: the business’ competitive advantage, costs, potential to grow market share, quality of management and service delivery, and future earnings streams, in short, the total returns, apart from local knowledge gathered as employees.

Conclusion and Analysis:
Almond Village, of the three sites, is the one with the greatest commercial potential, both in terms of a holiday destinations and as an entertainment venue for locals and Caricom citizens. How this is exploited depends on the decision-makers, who they consult, and the quality of that consultation.

Over and above the particularity of the Almond Resort crisis, which can be attributed to poor management, the issue is a reflection of the wider crisis in the need to deepen commercial development in Barbados, moving away from government intervention in the business sector, and the need for wider and more diversified financialisation. However, fundamentally the crisis in local tourism is on the demand side as there is more than enough slack on the supply side.

There are other flies in the ointment: rising oil prices, the air passenger duty (APD), the restructuring of the global economy – all these and more can influence the flow of visitors to the island. Even so, the outcome of the Almond crisis can be divided in two: on the micro level, it is a problem for Almond shareholders, executives, employees and other stakeholders, although in this economic climate no sensitive person would wish unemployment on anyone. But it is on the macro level that the real significance addresses policymakers and the rest of the nation.

First, it says a lot about the absence of a national land use policy, which I have raised in this forum before, which has never been properly addressed by any post-independence government. This comes as there are further reports of outline planning permission being given for the development of 95 acres of East Coast land for even more hotel use. The danger in this laissez faire approach is that Barbadians will wake up one morning to find they do not have a view, or access, to the very sea which is the nation’s pride.

Further, the queue of foreigners with fat cheque books ready to buy prime land in Barbados is an easy cop out for policymakers from the more intellectual policy challenge of formulating a broader and longer-lasting leisure and tourism strategy with ordinary Barbadians and fellow Caricom citizens at its very core, and which would be offered unselfishly to visitors from the rest of the world. What remains a mystery is that Almond Resorts is (was) listed on the Barbados Stock Exchange and yet there was very little reaction from the market. There was no discount for Almond shares, no attempt by any of the institutional investors, including the investment managers at the national insurance scheme, to build up a portfolio of equities in the business, and even now it is not clear if trading in Almond Resort shares has been suspended, apart from a report that the exchange was keeping a watchful eye on developments. To my mind all this amounts to collective failure: of the stock exchange and its operational rules and controls, of the investment community in Barbados and the rest of Caricom and, most of all, of regulation.

Interestingly, in terms of wealth creation, it would have been much better had government, advised by the central bank, not encouraged ordinary people to buy state bonds (debt) with their hard-earned money, rather than invest in Almond Resort and other stock exchange equities. The other disappointment is that the trade unions are not taking a more active role in the drama, given that one issue to be decided is how the pensions contributions and other benefits, if any, of the workers will be managed in future. Trade union leaders believe that confrontation and negotiating through the local press is what trade unionism is all about. Failed companies cannot just be allowed to curl up and die, unions must take a central role in the inquest.

Finally, let me end on an issue that may at first appear marginal, but goes to the heart of the matter. If it is true that Tony Marshall, the former chairman of the NIS, resigned rather than agree to a ministerial demand to ‘lend’ Four Seasons a $10m cashflow, it shows two things. First, that that money could be used to kick start some small and medium businesses, which is where future job creation will come from; and, such a casual use of taxpayers’ money should be challenged in court. This is a clear case for a judicial review; the process of decision-making can surely not be legal to my mind and, in any case, in no investment strategy can this be an ‘investment’ in the best interest of beneficiaries and future beneficiaries. The NIS has a duty of care to its members.

In a funny way, the $180m air marked for Four Seasons could be better used to buy Almond Village which could be used for the tourism industry and Barbadians generally.

0 thoughts on “Notes From a Native Son – Is There a Wider Lesson In Corporate Barbados From The Almond Crisis?

  1. Pingback: Neal & Massy Pulls The Plug On Almond Beach Village | Barbados Underground


    • The one correction is that the Minister responsible for the NIS Esther Byer-Suckoo has indicated Tony Marshall was not reappointed when his 2-year term expired. The following comment posted earlier in the week bears repeating:

      @ David

      Do you appreciate the fact that Chris Sinckler, leader of the Eager 11 was motivated into action as a result of the very CRUEL blow (delivered by the PM) of removing the responsibility for Nation Insurance Scheme from Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs and that since then NIS has undertaken major investments such as the new CXC building and Four Season?

      Do you appreciate that this was clearly an attempt by the PM and or his kitchen Cabinet to limited the power, financial and otherwise of the Minister of Finance thereby ensuring that all construction projects were NOT awarded to the Bjerkham Group namely JADA, PRECONCO, SIGMA and CARIBBEAN HOMES?

      Do you appreciate why the action of the Eager 11 was promoted by BJERKHAM, TEMPRO and MALONEY And why the meeting was convened in an apartment at Sapphire Beach Apartments in Dover belonging to BJERKHAM and TEMPRO?

      Do you appreciate that the Prime Minister is aware of the very close relationship between BJERKHAM Group and Minister Sinckler?

      Do you appreciate the roll of Minister Sealy in ensuring that ALL contractors in Barbados, irrespective of perceived party affiliation, should be given a slice of the GOB’s capital works programme as a method of protecting business in a harsh economic climate which carries with it attendant benefits such as maintaining employment levels in Barbados.

      Why does the Minister of Finance believe that BJERKHAM is GOD and should be the recipient of ALL government contracts, is because he can multiply loaves and bread and feed many?


  2. “interestingly, in terms of wealth creation, it would have been much better had government, advised by the central bank, not encouraged ordinary people to buy state bonds (debt) with their hard-earned money, rather than invest in Almond Resort and other stock exchange equities.”. an excerpt from the author of the above opinion piece.

    Wonder what he is really saying there?

    Humm!!

    PDC


  3. JB,

    Its a very good question.
    I have seen lots of figures thrown out there, but if you take the one N&M quoted, stating that ABV lost $23 million over the last year.
    400 rooms x 365 nights x 80 per cent occupancy – thats a loss of $196.92 per occupied room per night.
    It simply doesn’t make sense unless a large part of that $23 million is debt servicing.


  4. @Adrian
    but wouldn’t debt servicing be factored into any strategic plan or expansion vison since it could be predicted?? In essence a financial bind that you can easily see and take into account? and If this is the case, what is that saying for management and/or their “grandiose” plans???

    I’m not an accountant so forgive me if my jargon or reasoning is a little bandy.


  5. Observing,

    If I was a minority shareholder, I would be extremely angry and demand a full forensic audit. It is this continued lack of transparency that is adding to the suspicion and reluctance to persuade ordinary people from investing and buying shares in local and regional companies.
    I heard a current share value of 12 cents being quoted and this is with 32 acres of prime oceanfront property.
    Something is not right here.


  6. Until the most recent unaudited statements said to be before the FSC are released (to shareholders) or made public we are left to speculate. In fact the decision to close without a full scale scrutiny of the finacials by shareholders is disrespectful at minimum.


  7. @ David…bad reviews ?
    On the contrary…the chart shows a majority consensus of Very Good reviews….only the top comment is failing….am I missing something here ?


  8. Adrian Loveridge | April 6, 2012 at 10:53 AM | … I heard a current share value of 12 cents being quoted and this is with 32 acres of prime oceanfront property…

    Was this from an informed source, even if unofficially communicated?


  9. The huge debts are the result of the purchase of the Casuarina and Morgan Bay hotels in St Lucia.
    Almond’s problem is that it borrowed loads of money to make those purchases just before the financial meltdown. Tourist numbers then dropped, as did room rates. I am guessing that it could then not borrow money to upgrade its dilapidated plant as it’s debt was too high and it was spending too much in interest payments; nor could it sell its properties to pay off the loans as their values had dropped.
    Its a classic case of a business over-leveraging itself.
    On another point, I know Hal Austin dislikes all-inclusives and logic certainly says that visitors staying in them would spend less in Barbados than a more traditional and mobile visitor. I don’t buy, though, the concept that “they need to fabricate a story of social pathology on the outside to terrify customers in to staying within their walls”.
    Common sense tells you that if you have paid for an all-inclusive, you will be less likely to want to go and pay extra for meals, drinks etc outside the hotel. There is not need for any “social pathology”.


  10. Adrian Loveridge | April 6, 2012 at 10:53 AM | … I heard a current share value of 12 cents being quoted and this is with 32 acres of prime oceanfront property…
    The Nation Wednesday April 4th – “…one financial analyst who attended the meeting suggested…that at best…the investors would get back 22 cents per share. This is based on a value of $12 million after severance and other closing costs were met.”
    Closing costs must allow for paying off the staff and the huge loans taken out to buy the other hotels.


  11. How with lag… our financial market failures (Clico Baico,Redjet,Almond) mimics the US’s…. with big Fanny Maes and Ford motors looking for bail outs…Big difference though….those bailouts were absolutely necessary to their economy staying afloat..OURS.. anyone cares to venture a guess ? One thing though…our boss man is not as active or should I say proactive to these here happenings like theirs…nor do we have the funds even if expedient. One thing to be said though, if anybody has plans of holding their breaths or not coming up for air, waiting for a bailout to aid their cause,think again..the undertakers about here going to be rich men and the workers paupers.


  12. Onion your finger ent tired from typing? Lawd yuh mouth running like sick nigga bam bam. Yuh ent got nuh wuk to do around yuh home? As soon as dis sun cool down a lil bit I gine and mow de dry grass.


  13. David “He just does not have the sales and dynamic background required:”

    The President can hire people with “the sales and dynamic background required:”

    St George’s Dragon wrote “Closing costs must allow for paying off the staff and the huge loans taken out to buy the other hotels.”

    So who will own those Hotels after the “huge loans” are paid off.

    Are we seeing smoke,mirrors and snake oil selling ?


  14. Alike other investors (CLICO, RedJet, etc.), the ARI shareholders may wish to appeal to the GOB to recover their investment. June, do you have room?


  15. Austin is entitled to his views but he is not entitled to foist them on us repeatedly. He has already announced his opinion on the “all inclusive model” in a recent post and now he repeats them again.

    Austin, if the Island is catering to tourists it should cater to all varieties, from the Sandy Lane types to the ones who want to rent efficiency Apts to Back packers. If you try to cater to any special group you will lose out in the end. Today’s Corporate Executive who is staying at a lush resort was yesterday’s Back packer. Many of the people who elect to stay at “all inclusives” are people with young families who are comfortable with a prix fixe without worrying about what the additional costs will be at the end of the trip.

    So descend from your “high horse” and get into the real world, the world which is very small and inhabited by folks who decide how they will spend their money


  16. Sargeant,All inclusives takes work away from the young entrepreneurs.
    Some Waterski and Hobie cat operators had to sell their equipment and work for the Hotel owners.
    People eat most of their meals in the Hotels because they prepaid for them.

    However to be competitive with similar destinations Barbados has to have some All Inclusives.

    Barbados can still be a successful Tourism destination and employment generator but we need to create more baskets to put our eggs in.


  17. Hants says “So who will own those Hotels after the “huge loans” are paid off.”
    The shareholders, who are Neal & Massy (52%) and the 700 plus others own the company which owns the hotels, the land they are on and is responsible for the loans.
    The company sells the land and hotels, pays off the loans with the proceeds and pays out the remaining cash to all shareholders.


  18. I thought only Almond Beach Village at Heywoods is being sold.

    Are they sell all Almond properties in the Caribbean?


  19. So let us hope that the properties are bought and renovated/refurbished.

    Barbados still needs hotel rooms and those soon to be laid off Almond employees need jobs and hope.


  20. Seems to us as though this article squirted the larger threats for the industry and company. The problem is that a solution for Almond cannot be found within an industry or company analysis for it is the tourist industry as a whole that is facing life threatening problems. In other words, all the other problems the world/region is facing cannot be separated from any analysis of Almond.

    For years the tourist industry has been limping along. Few news hotels were built because the running cost were prohibitively high. It has had an insufficiency investment capital. There is increasing competition and other product mixes that represent much better value for money and Barbados could never be an exclusively high end destination. We consider it is too late for tinkering. Almond and much of the industry as well as the country itself can no longer avoid radical transformation.


    • There is the interesting relationship one can make between the Almond and Clico Mess.

      The CEOs of both companies are known to have acquired healthy personal fortunes even if the companies they have headed have suffered financially to the chagrin of the shareholders/policyholders.

      In no way is intending to cast aspersions on the characters of the two gentlemen.


  21. @ David
    This is the norm in financial circles around the world. Why should the personal fortunes of top executives be contingent on the performance of the organization? In this respect there is no measurable difference between CLICO, Almond, MF Global, Goldman Sacks, et al. People have to understand that theirs is to serve the needs of finance capital and the gods of capital are to be immune from the calamity brought on us by misguided management.

    We can go through a litany of measures that will increase accountability and all that but at the end of the day no amount of financial market reform is going to remedy the structural weakness of of financial capital. We have to find a new way, a better way. The system everywhere has entered a cul de sac and cannot be saved from its internal contradictions.


    • In the best rhetorical surely you appreciate the gravamen of your pronouncement?

      Should you now be labeled a pessimist, defeatist or realist?


  22. Several years ago I had seen references to Almond/Ralph Taylor doing something in Jamaica as well as St. Lucia…….what has happened to the activity that was going on in Jamaica???

    Did or does Almond have a going concern in Jamaica?

    For the most part, i’m in agreement with Mr. Austin’s position on allinclusives.

    …..and we have problems with the following areas among other things:
    – the BTA’s reliance on Travel Agents
    – lack of advertising in the USA market
    – the whole Dallas program
    – the lack of an internet strategy
    – Barbados pricing itself out of the market
    – the lack of Casinoes (needed if you’re a serious Tourism destination)
    – Service levels
    – With the exception of CropOver Barbados is not viewed as a fun
    place….we are viewed as a conservative destination


    • On a tangential matter, the go ahead by the government to allow Bill Direct to accept REDjet fares is the reason why passengers who have paid monies to travel just before the airline went belly up are out of pocket. Ordinarily a travel Agent has to be bonded to cover fares in collection in the event there is a failure of the REDjet kind. Who is responsible and where is the accountability? Instead we draw political lines as a country we claim to love goes down the toilet.


  23. @ David
    Yes. Some time ago we had the organizing principles of communism and they went by the wayside. Before that we had feudalism and others. They went into the dustbin of history. Why should we treat capitalism with deference when it is not serving our interests. Don’t get me wrong. For many years it has been better than the rest in creating heretofore unknown levels of goods and services. But in the last few decades it has been failing. We have to find a new way to organize our communities. Capitalism has been extremely bad at the distribution of resources. As a result we have growing levels on poverty, lack of basic needs at one end and a gross distortion of resources to the billionaires and large corporations. In addition, the capitalist model erroneously assumes that natural resources are inexhaustible. We now know that this is a false. And on and on!

    You are right. This is huge. The world will never be the same. It will require tectonic changes unknown to us. Why can Barbados not be at the cutting edge of the evolution of a new system? Why can’t we start developing a conceptual model. Of course, we’ll have to through out the post Breton Woods financial architecture and none of those people who currently see themselves as local economic guru would be helpful in a new dispensation. This is real transformation.


    • @Pachamama

      There was a time Barbados would have had no problem taking the lead and be touted as a model by others more blessed with resources.

      Not any longer, we have become enculturated the American and Eurocentric way and the process is now irreversiable.

      Our DNA has been rewired.

      Agree with you that the capitalist system and even the hybrid version Barbados pushes is in need of a revamp.

      The so-called middleclass deserves its status built on a foundation of debt and not asset wealth.


    • The following statement by IMF head and a creature of the system is instructive: 

      She also urged the United States to tackle its high public debt levels, currently exceeding 100% of GDP. ”The country needs a stronger push to fix its public finances in the years ahead, including by curbing the growth of entitlement spending and raising more revenue,” Lagarde added.
      The IMF views the unemployment’s rate also as a main concern on the road to economic recovery. “Noting that over 200 million people globally, including nearly 13 million in the US, are without work, she said, “jobs must be a priority.”
      She also made an appeal for more IMF resources. “Now that the Europeans have moved first with their firewall, the time has come to increase our firepower,” she said.
      http://en.mercopress.com/2012/04/05/imf-warns-world-recovery-is-very-fragile-policy-makers-should-not-become-complacent


  24. Given that most visitors come from the UK, what’s the demographic of people buying all-inclusive holidays in Barbados from the UK? It’s the very group that has been most hard-hit in the UK’s recent budget.

    Those middle class people with families who can’t afford the departure tax, whose jobs are at stake and who have lost their child care benefit, dealing with rising fuel and food prices Small businessmen, civil servants, doctors and middle managers. There are also the postmen, milkmen, police and others of their ilk who borrowed to buy a lovely two weeks at Almond with their kids and then spent the next year paying it off; the lower middle classes who are now so strapped and can’t get that loan anymore – nobody is lending. “Let’s holiday in Britain this year, it’s going to be a long hot dry summer! We have beaches, let’s go camping!” Summer in UK is going to be so hot there’s a hose-pipe ban and anyway, it’s GREENER.”

    There is that other group of people in their late sixties who have paid off the mortgage, kids married, old-style pensions working well and owning a home in the UK that’s extremely more valuable than it was! They come to Barbados and spend but within a couple of years these people will be cashing in on their properties in the UK to fund their health care as they go into their old age. You won’t be seeing them on cruises or renting high-end properties anymore. These were the people who could afford to eat out at the Cliff and buy assets in Barbados which they will have to sell in the next 5 years to fund their future health care in the UK. Selling up their assets. Be realistic; when they die there will be no more of them in the foreseeable future; that cash cow has died.

    Then we have the very rich, they do what they do, staying at top end hotels and mooring their boats, buying seriously glam properties (because they LOVE Bajans so much and golf that they live in gated communities) who don’t really help the local community at all, apart from hiring a few maids, security or gardeners, unless of course they bring their own staff because “you can’t trust a Bajan not to rob you”. It’s a horrible picture and a lesson about not relying on tourism.


  25. David wrote “The CEOs of both companies are known to have acquired healthy personal fortunes.”

    They were rewarded for their loyalty to the Owners while they were delivering buckets of cash.


  26. @Pachamama….”Why can Barbados not be at the cutting edge of the evolution of a new system? Why can’t we start developing a conceptual model.”

    Because many of us have the same thiefing genes. They are further developed at UWI in the social sciences, law and medical departments. Without good ethics we will not have the capacity to create a new system.


  27. There is a very thin line between Tourism and Prostitution. That line disappears completely when one gets into actively luring the Johns,….errrr Tourists, and bending over backwards because you need to feed your children.
    Both of these trades are extremely lucrative in the initial stages when you are unspoilt…but increasingly you need to swallow more and more pride to stay in business…whether it is by accepting the use of all-inclusive or giving in to weird fetishes.

    Our once beautiful coastline is now ominously similar to a few 40+ -year old once-beautiful lasses known to BT too…..

    If we plant okras we can’t expect to reap corn.


  28. A little Almond background.

    Hotelier
    Ralph’s success as a hotelier lies in one person – D.P. Lynch. As Chairman of BS & T, he took Ralph from the accounts dept at Rockley Resort and made him Management. From Rockley, he went to Almond and was given 1 million shares of the company – also compliments of D.P. L.

    Expansion
    As Almond grew, more hotels were purchased. Ralph’s cousin, (former Chairman of the BTA) was employed by Almond as Manager of special projects and was sent to investigate The Superclubs Boscobel property in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. A decision was taken to buy 2 hotels in St Lucia instead. The Almond Morgan Bay & The Smugglers Cove. Both properties were subsequently lost but the owner of Smugglers today is none other than Ralph Taylor.

    Nepotism?
    Ralph’s present wife was the interior decorator at Almond Casuarina after the take over and marketing consultant for the group.


  29. willy_c | April 7, 2012 at 5:48 AM |
    Was this made known earlier?
    Are the many shareholders aware of this?
    Did the main shareholder agree to this?
    Is the FSC aware of this?


    • So far a quick Google has thrown up zilch as far as Smugglers Cover being sold to Ralph Taylor is concerned. One can easily discuss if true whether it presents a conflict of interest.


  30. Did the directors review and approve any related party transactions?

    Did ARI receive fair value in any related party transactions?

    The FSC should determine these questions to ensure that the current shareholder value is a result of fair transactions

    I recall when the shareholders were offered, I think, $2.50/share, a 100% increase on the initial price, and were swayed not to accepting the offer.


    • What is the ARI ownership structure which managed the St. Lucia operations?

      Does/did it facilitate FSC oversight?


    • Perhaps the minority shareholders need to call for an inquiry (forensic audit)?

      At the minimum a second Special Meeting for Shareholders need to be held to allow for proper inquiry and dissemination of information.


  31. The investors in Barbados need to start targeting the directors when a company fails due to their negligence. Instances of management having the freedom to take a company to the brink and over are becoming too common, while the directors appear to do nothing, while being compensated out of the shareholders’ funds. Possibly some lawsuits…


  32. willy_c you are to be commended for the background Almond/Ralph Taylor info although I do remember an actual project ongoing in Jamaica several years ago…..

    A lot of stuff happened at Almond under Ralph Taylor and remember during this time he was also chairman of Barbados Tourism…..so he was viewed as untouchable and unquestionalbe by anyone.

    if there were to be a detailed search/forensic audit you might find that there are all kinds of hidden stuff and involvement by politicians from both parties!!!

    ….but on the other hand, these folks are smart, you would have to dig so deep that nothing would be found….maybe some OIL !!!!!

    Nepotism….just the beginning of the story…

    Company directors….meaningless just puppets of the Chairman/CEO

    Auditors….can easily be steared in the direction you want them to go

    Everything can be hidden!!!


  33. @ David
    If Taylor was still MD of A;lmond, then him or his ersonal company taking over the managemnt of Smugglers is a conflict of interest. Similarly, if he purchased Smugglers Cove. All I ask, as a minority shareholder about to lose his shirt, is that this man is not allowed to go anywhere near any re-structured Almond Beach Village arrangement.


    • @Peltdownman

      @ David
      If Taylor was still MD of A;lmond, then him or his ersonal company taking over the managemnt of Smugglers is a conflict of interest. Similarly, if he purchased Smugglers Cove. All I ask, as a minority shareholder about to lose his shirt, is that this man is not allowed to go anywhere near any re-structured Almond Beach Village arrangement.

      Only wanted to separate the point that if Taylor declared his interest to the N&M Board then the issue is located all about and not just with him.

      There is then enough culpability is enough to go around.


  34. Regardless to the mountain of hindrances, at the base we are talking about survival as a nation, as a species. And the hindrances are not inconsequential.
    Right now they are some simply things, as a ‘nation’ we are not even doing. for example, there is the absence of national strategic plans.
    There is no strategic response if the US collapses.
    There is no national strategic response if there is a wide scaled war in the Persian Gulf and oil goes to 500 dollars a barrel.
    Even if the present government were to start developing such plans whoever is in the opposition would make them ‘shite’. There can be little doubt that we need radical transformation in the political culture.

    But how could we start imagining economic transformation? Not tinkering – fundamental transformation. Suppose we posit a resource based society (RBS). Several small communities elsewhere have been working on this model. It is characterized by the absence of money with everybody taking only the resources needed within the context of mother nature’s abilities. This would be a far different country, world.


    • Lazy Lagoon HOLDINGS LTD (ST. LUCIA) (Holding 44.5%) G.A.A. King (Chairman); M. Chastanet; K. Mootoo; M.J. Pritchard; R.W. Taylor; CFS Management Ltd

       

      http://www.neal-and-massy.com/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=711
      The names in this company look very familiar. One offshoot from this Almond mess is the fact that Geoffrey Cave is a Director in Neal & Massy. We all know his involvement with Fortress Fund. A question for mainstream media, what is the hit the fund has taken as a result of its ARI Holdings. It is interesting that Cave came out recently criticizing the debt ARI took on which has resulted in over-leveraging.


  35. Makes another absolute nonsense of the TIRF (Tourism Industry Relief Fund) and the $2 million* of taxpayers monies that Almond received to keep staff employed.
    Take the money and close, just like Silver Sands Resort.
    * source: Daily Nation – 24th January 2011.


  36. Pachamama wrote “There is no national strategic response if there is a wide scaled war in the Persian Gulf and oil goes to 500 dollars a barrel.”

    My strategic response is to turn rab land into orchards and plough up the golf courses and grow food.


  37. Develop solar energy as the main source of Electricity. (Emera can still make money from the transmission lines.

    Grow as much food as possible.


  38. If I was reading this blog for the first time I would think that Parris and Taylor were too very powerful men who are so brilliant that they could do as they like with their bosses money year after year.

    It can’t just be Parris and Taylor who are totally responsible for the collapse of Clico and Almond.

    Against a background of Grey it is easier to see black than white.


  39. A society demands money
    By Sylvan Greenidge
    Fri, April 06, 2012 – 12:00 AM Maybe it is time for the DLP to wake up to the reality you cannot have a society without an economy – a lesson they should have learnt from the 1937 social riots.

    Is this a new BLP strategy ? fear mongering?


  40. My very limited understanding of Companies is that if you own 52% you do not let the CEO do as he like.

    something wrong.


  41. http://www.goddardenterprisesltd.com/bd__.cfm?ref=27

    http://www.neal-and-massy.com/NMHContent.aspx?id=288

    Investor Highlights
    2010 Highlights:

    •Group Third Party Revenue remained flat at $8.3 billion
    •Profit Before Tax declined by 12.5% from $692 million in 2009 to $606 million in 2010
    •Profit After Tax declined by 18% from $517 million to $424 million
    •The losses from discontinued operations were $118million.
    •Earnings Per Share from continuing operations was $4.35 – 10.9% lower than in 2009 when EPS was $4.88
    •Group Debt declined by $197 million to $1,978 million
    •Group Cash increased from $958 million to $1,138 million.
    •Debt to Equity Ratio improved from 79% in 2009 to 66% in 2010
    • Current Ratio also improved from 1.25 in 2009 to 1.28 in 2010

    Let google and Bing be your new best friends.


  42. @ islandgal246
    How insightful! That place on the the hill (UWI) is a desert and will be of little use in fashioning a new way.


  43. @Hants
    Losses from discontinued operations $118 million. You don’t think that their investments in Almond Casuarina and Morgan Bay had anything to do with this? If so, can you blame the current CEO’s if that investment was made before they took the posts? Could it be that BS&T and N&M had tried to get rid of ARI a few years ago and that an uproar, including protests from the then PM, ruled it politically impossible? Could that have been because of Taylor’s political connections, I wonder?


  44. Oh and Hants
    Is there a difference between a going concern with ability to write-off losses and still have growing revenue and one that is so far deep in the hole that the bank has declined to lend anymore, thereby making it impossible to continue?


  45. David you are one of the few on this blog who seem to be looking for the truth.

    It is easy to talk about who buy Range Rovers and build big house but do you think Parris and Taylor could be amassing such wealth over such a long time without the knowledge of their bosses.

    You can’t hide the Luxury Cars and Luxury Houses.


  46. Hants dearie ….They drove high end luxury company cars, Taylor sold his first house which was modest just behind the Warrens Industrial Park and bought a house in Queens Fort sold that and bought a nearby house next door to Bachelor Hall in Porters I think he sold that one and built a mansion somewhere in Westmoreland. Heard he spent $40,000.00 on his wife’s birthday bash last year in NY city. In between he was building luxury condos in Hastings Ch Ch and was being sued by the owners.


  47. $40,000 on an old wife’s birthday party??? and now what the company needs some of my tax money, or some of my NIS money?

    Tell these folks I am way, way, way past 50 and I’ve had one birthday party in my whole life. One party at home in the house. I think there were maybe 12 guests. The party cost maybe $500

    Not one fcuking cent of my tax money. Not one fcuking cent of my NIS money.

    Birthday parties are for people younger than 17 or older that 99. The rest of us should be working not partying.

    What the hell has Barbados come to??


  48. @ islandGal
    What we are missing here (conveniently) is that Ralph is doing what many other capitalist (few local) would do given the opportunity.Don’t forget he was from humble beginnings. A perfect example of good fortune …a blessing from above…scenario a very very very few black men in Barbados would ever occasion.I doubt we will ever see this ascension, here again in our life time.As such ..regardless what ( don’t look back to aid ) …a little man has won..he has my admiration, not jealousy.


  49. @ onions.. He has your admiration…??!!
    Spoken like a TRUE YARD FOWL

    No wonder you live for the return of the BLP to power where such “ascensions” are routine.
    What do you have in mind….? A plantation? A Benz? Or you just want a little government pick….

    have you no shame?

    Man apologize to Random Thoughts and all right thinking Bajans do…


  50. @ David

    Is Bjerkham’s offer to buy Almond Heywoods conditional on Neal & Massy obtaining permission to convert the property into a private marina?


  51. Bushie I doubt …the Creator would have ambivalence ..not for one moment in endowing you with such fortune as Ralph..whether black or white….yours is a case for the unknown only He the ability to access.
    Man is a noble animal, splendid in ashes and pompous in the grave.So Bushie take heed of thy follies and hurry to amend.”Sometimes we are what we are ..and not as we believe to the end..”.


    • @A-JAck

      We all know Bejerkham’s MO, it is either High (Marinas/Villas) or Low (Coverly). Maybe he is fronting for others as well, he seems to have a close relationship with certain government personages.


  52. I notice King David not giving me D time of the day…Is alrite boss…alrite..when ya pelt rocks at D wrong body..de police done come….


  53. @ Hant
    I got to eat the wife Sunday food ..don’t I ? Like you ent got nah Bajan wife ..leave out the Sunday meal ? Boy that is a cardinal sin…ask D king…he would vouch for the licks I wud b gettin…


  54. @old onion bags,

    I have a Bajan wife but I live in Canada so I don’t conform to some Bajan traditions.

    Today is a “couch potato” day.I home today watching IPL cricket and horse racing at woodbine(Patrick Husbands riding today) on TV and West Indies vs Australia on my laptop.

    sweeeeeeeet!


  55. almond=talk
    I would prefer Ritz Carlton;reason Bejerkham would turn it into an extention of Port St. Charles; out of the reach of the average local, Butch would want a local beach, if not given he would do the same thing he did to Paradise Hotel, Doyle is too slimmy and don’t have locals at heart, just Doyle and Co. Sold to Ritz Carlton would mean an international hotel chain in Barbados, and that’s what we want especially at this time.


  56. @ David

    The 40 acres across the road from Almond Heywoods and Port St. Charles which used to belong to one of the Co-Ops was sold to Ray Horney who then sold off some if not all of the the interest in that land to Bjerkham and Tempro.

    If Bjerkham gets Almond Heywoods, he would have completed the entire acquisition and could then proceed to build the super marina which John Morse and him have dreamed about for years.

    Port Fordinand would link to the 40 acres and the Heywoods property. The Eager 11 has some long agile legs, maybe even restless leg syndrome, you agree?


  57. Ritz Carlton world renowned top of the line Best of the best. Good paying Jobs. !Almonds would be in good hands if bought by them.


  58. @ David

    This is Bjerkham monopoly board game at play and he fully intends to buy prime property and hotels.


  59. @ ac

    Ritx Cartlon is a brand which uses its brand to manage hotels only, they don’t buy real estate.


  60. ….and in any case, international brands are much more challenging when it comes to making campaign contributions….
    Bazic may be on to something….


  61. Now comes along the PEOPLES CATHEDRAL asking the govt for a subsidy .these pale face people like taking nuff advantage of the black now they wouldn’t try that sh..t in the usa these people have no shame.buzzards!


  62. As of Sep 30, 2010, NIS owned 2,400,000 ARI shares, representing a 4% interest.


  63. As of Sep 30, 2010:
    – BS&T: 20,472,095 (36%)
    – Roberts Manufacturing: 11,345,092 (20%)
    – Sagicor Equity Fund: 8,152.096 (14%)
    – Neal & Massy Barbados: 3,193,298 (6%)
    – NIS: 2.400.000 (4%)
    – Ralph Taylor: 1,570,757 (3%)


  64. – 67 Management & staff: 2,116,993 (4%)
    – 5 Public companies: 25,268,401 (45%)
    – 41 Insurance companies, trusts & pension funds: 12,836,802 (23%)
    – 31 Private companies: 12,773,946 (22%)
    – 594 Individuals: 3,460,924 (6%)


  65. @ ARI’s shareholders by type at Sep 30, 2010

    keep it coming.

    Blog Freedom of information act in effect.

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