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Cash from William Fogarty’s sale to service debt, finance expansion

Vice Chairman of the La Parkan Group of Companies, Hussein Haniff (left) and Group Chairman, Glen Khan

The Laparkan Group of Companies is selling the William Fogarty building on Water Street and will use the money from the sale to clear off some debts and inject the remainder in the expansion of its cargo and financial services, a senior company official said Thursday.

“We would be able to liquidate a number of high-cost debt that continues to be challenging for us as you have high-cost debt,” Chairman of the Laparkan Group, Glen Khan told reporters.

He said William Fogarty’s (Limited) would in turn lease part of the existing building and would operate the office services, financial services, garment section and food.. He said the new owner would occupy part of the building which is to be remodelled. “I think we would be because we would only take areas that we want to focus our energies on,” he said.

He explained that the sale would give Laparkan Group an opportunity to develop William Fogarty Limited because “we will have a lot more working capital to deal with.”

He said the sale and lease of the same property was a financial re-engineering model that has been used worldwide to release capital without losing the fixed assets.

Khan bluntly rejected a recent Stabroek News newspaper report that had stated that the Trinidad-based American Stores was purchasing the building. He said Laparkan was currently only renting that entity bond space with the permission of the new owners.

However, he refused to divulge who the new owner would be and what was the sale-price until the transport and other paperwork were finalized in another four months. “I am not at liberty to discuss arrangements that we have got with a buyer,” he said.  Officials said that it was a Guyanese group which has undergone the required due-diligence.

Khan also declined to say how much of Laparkan’s debts would be serviced from the sale of the property.
Group Vice Chairman, Hussein Haniff explained that some of the monies would be ploughed into the expansion of its freight service to the smaller Caribbean islands by using existing cargo carriers.

The group also plans to provide consumer procurement services mainly for food items as well introduce a refrigeration service for perishables.  “We have got a full agenda for the coming several years,” said Khan who controls more than 90 percent of the company’s shares.

Asked why Fogarty’s seemed to have fallen on hard times that even led to poorly stocked departments and reduced customer flow, he said the company had to make choices on how to spend its money. “We, as an organisation, have always had to allocate whatever limited resources we have,” he said. Khan said Fogarty’s has been always making profits but not always to the desired level.

Fogarty’s currently employs 135 persons and, according to the Group’s Chairman, there are no plans to layoff workers or cease employing persons to replace those who have resigned, retired or have been fired. “What I want to assure you is that in the future the place would be extremely vibrant and in that extreme vibrant environment what you would more than likely see is additional employees by our group,” he said.