British Airways strike is on
The British Airways cabin crew has announced plans to strike for seven days this month, potentially disrupting hundreds of people's travel plans.
British Airways runs the only direct flight five times a week from Britain to The Bahamas, bringing UK travelers to the islands every week.
After much back and forth, the airline's cabin crew announced plans to strike for seven days this month, potentially disrupting thousands of travelers ahead of the Easter holidays.
The walkouts — scheduled for three days from March 20 and another four days from March 27 — are the latest move in a long running and increasingly acrimonious dispute between BA and the union representing its 13,000 cabin crew over a pay freeze and changes to working conditions.
Freeport Concrete can't pay for audit
Freeport Concrete executives is trying to close a sale for 100 acres of land and other assets as it tries to cover expenses.
In a frank message to shareholders, Freeport Concrete CEO Ray Simpson said the company could not provide a full financial report because it can't afford to pay auditors. The company lost $1.6m between August 2008 and November 2009 and Simpson said the latest numbers will be worse because the store cannot afford to buy inventory.
To cover costs, management has taken a pay cut and some staff are working fewer hours.
Simpson said that there had been interest from an investment group and that the company received an offer in January to purchase some of the assets and 126 acres of land that the company owned.
However he said, "Regrettably to date we have not received a definitive agreement to be able to present to our shareholders. Obviously we are trying to get this accomplished as soon as possible, but unfortunately it is out of our hands as to when we will receive this definitive agreement."
Galanis hits back at 'sham audit' claims
Accounting firm HLB Galanis Bain is firing back at an offshore report hinting that it contributed to misinformation on a client, arguing that several key factors proving the adherence of due diligence were overlooked.
It's a situation evolving from March's industry publication of the Offshore Alert, which alleged the local firm may have aided in "a sham audit of an offshore insurer called Condor Guaranty Inc. (CGI)." They are statements Managing Partner Philip Galanis has taken exception to.
"The partners of this firm categorically reject the claims, assertions or implications by Offshore Alert that this firm aided, abetted or contributed any misinformation whatsoever regarding CGI's financial statement presentation or our report thereon," he said in a statement sent to Guardian Business.
Exuma Resort rated #1 retirement community
A retirement research team has ranked Exuma's February Point Resort Estates as the best retirement community in The Bahamas — something hotel executives are not that surprised over given the recent 100 percent jump in sales activity.
It's a boost that came even before the website bestretirementdestinations.com - an independent authority on where to retire - rated at least 10 communities in the country. General Manager Matthew Marco said the ranking and the sales both came as a result of the property's position as a mature and established community in The Bahamas.
"We are an exception to the whole Bahamas," he told Guardian Business. "A lot of projects have stalled, but we have a sustainable group of home owners that are active on the island.
100% improvement in anti-corruption of awarding contracts
The government has improved 100 percent in limiting kickback abuses in the granting of contracts for millions of dollars of work on infrastructure projects, said the local contractors association head.
"From all indications, there has been a vast improvement. . . a 100 percent improvement," Stephen Wrinkle told Guardian Business. "I can speak to the contracts I know have been awarded like the straw market and the Freeport administration complex, they were tendered in ministry standard [and the] due diligence process was adhered to.
"This time [government] appeared to be concerned about the process, but the appearance of the process as well."
Counterfeit DVD and CD sales 'undermine' legitimate companies
A Bahamian telecoms start-up yesterday warned that content and programming rights holders will be reluctant to do business with legitimate companies in this nation due to the widespread sale of pirated DVDs and CDs, depriving these firms and the sector regulator of much-needed revenue.
IP Solutions International, the $16 million plus Bahamian start-up aiming to launch a 'multiple play' of TV and video-on-demand services via a wireless infrastructure, warned that widespread copyright infringements in this nation had created an "non-level playing field" favouring the purveyors of this illicit trade.
Edison Sumner, IP Solutions International's president and chief executive, in a March 12, 2010, letter sent to the Utilities Regulation & Competition Authority (URCA), urged the sector regulator to "prioritise" the fight against counterfeited and pirated DVDs/CDs.
Government's $90-$175m annual BEC savings plan
National energy savings of between $90-$175 million per annum can be realised if a series of recommendations to enhance the Bahamas Electricity Corporation's (BEC) operational efficiency are implemented, the minister of the environment revealing that a "major utility company" from Canada is being engaged to help achieve this.
Earl Deveaux told Tribune Business that the Government aimed to implement its short-term goals for BEC within "the next six to nine months", acknowledging that the 100 per cent state-owned power supplier was in "dire financial straits".
The targets include the Government, rather than BEC and, by extension, its business and residential consumers, paying for the provision of street lighting and lighting in other public places, including parks - something estimated to cost between $12-$15 million per year.
Entrepreneur plan targeting up to 50
The Government-sponsored National Training Programme is aiming to select 30-50 entrepreneurs for its Micro Finance initiative, which will be "up and running" by end-April 2010, its chairman telling Tribune Business he hoped this "structured" approach to business incubation could become a permanent fixture.
Khaalis Rolle, who is also the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce's president, said the programme was now just awaiting "the formal written recommendation" on its grant funding, and how this would be divided between the budding entrepreneurs, although the Government had already budgeted for a $300,000 allocation.
"This is the Micro Finance end of it, the 'Start your own Business' part," Mr Rolle said of the National Training Programme's current status. "We've started the application part, and hope to begin interviews very shortly.
$200m investment at oil storage terminal
FREEPORT, Bahamas - A $200 million investment at Grand Bahama's South Riding Point oil storage terminal is expected to begin later this year through new owners StatoilHydro, in a bid to upgrade the terminal and start blending crude oil.
Bent Pedersen, Statoil's vice-president, said a two-phase investment programme will be undertaken, beginning in September 2010, to significantly upgrade safety levels at the terminal, which are currently "unsatisfactory".
The second phase, he said, will involve plant investment to begin blending operations at the facility in East End.
Baha Mar targeting early Q2 deal close
Baha Mar's $2.6 billion Cable Beach redevelopment project was yesterday said to be "back on track" and targeting an early second quarter 2010 agreement close with its Chinese partners, with completion of the project financing now the major focus.
This newspaper understands that after a one to two-week pause, while the parties overcame issues relating to how much equity cash they would put into the deal, plus the break for Chinese New Year, Baha Mar and its partners, the China Export-Import Bank and China State Construction, are moving forward again.
Tribune Business was told by sources who have connections to those working on the deal that the two Chinese state-owned entities had been making "big demands" of Baha Mar, which is owned by chairman and chief executive, Sarkis Izmirlian, and his Lyford Cay-based family.
Lack of Gov certification local egg profits
Egg prices will see a consecutive three-week hike due to an upcoming season of high demand, the perishables buyer for SuperValue food stores told Tribune Business yesterday. Meanwhile, bad weather in the US has affected food prices, which continue to rise in the Bahamas.
Clifton Fernander said the Easter season will demand more eggs, so their prices will continue to increase incrementally over a three-week period, which started last week.
He explained that prices fluctuate on imported eggs, similar to other products, while local egg producers, Rainbow Farms, have not increased their egg prices in three years.
Director of the egg farm, Lori Roach, said her eggs, which are produced organically, could demand a higher price point. However, the Government's inability to certify her eggs as organic leaves her outbid by the import market.
New RND owner cuts monthly cost $20k
RND Holdings will save $20,000 per month in debt servicing payments as a result of the balance sheet restructure initiated by new majority shareholder Colina Insurance Company, the firm's chairman telling Tribune Business yesterday that he was not surprised so few minority investors had elected to sell-out.
With Colina's offer to buy-out the RND minority investors, who hold just over 35 per cent of its outstanding issued ordinary shares, expiring late yesterday, Senator Jerome Fitzgerald said shareholders would "be pleased" to hand on to their investments because of the greater value the new majority owner would unlock.
Expressing no surprise that so many had chosen to stick with RND Holdings, despite the change of control and likely alteration in management/strategic direction, Senator Fitzgerald told Tribune Business: "I think people appreciate two things.