Govt provides sketchy info about companies interested in buying state-owned sugar estates ; DDL did not bid

Last Updated on Friday, 2 November 2018, 17:09 by Denis Chabrol

The Camp Street, Georgetown-based headquarters of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited.

The Special Purpose Unit of the Guyana government’s holding company for government assets on Friday released the names of the five companies that have bid to buy out the four estates of the state-owned Guyana Sugar Corporation (Guysuco), but did not disclose the details of the entities.

A senior official of Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) did not tender for Enmore Estate, as had been widely expected. The company was expected to late Friday disclose why it decided not to do so although it had even partnered with government to produce molasses for its rum production.

Bidding are D Rampersaud & Co. Ltd for the Skeldon Estate; Guygulf International Trading Development Industrial and Financial LLC (Nand Persaud & Co. Ltd) for the Skeldon, Rose Hall and Albion Estate; Liberty Investments Inc. for Enmore Estate; Industrial Equipment Sales and Service Incorporation (IESS) for Rose Hall Estate, and Kadem Sugars Inc. for Rose Hall Estate.

The SPU of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited did not on Friday provide any details about the countries in which the companies were registered and who are their director. Numerous calls to the Head of the Special Purpose Unit, Colvin Heath-London went unanswered and  they were not returned.

When consultants from PricewaterhouseCoopers on Thursday first confirmed that a Florida-registered company, with connections to the Middle East, was interested in buying all three estates, there was no indication of a Guyanese connection.

An Online search shows that the principals of Guygulf International Trading Development Industrial and Financial LLC ate Hefazul Hakh, Ragindra Persaud and Faiz Al-Abideen, all of whose addresses are 5402 Crepe Myrtle Circle, Kissimmee, Florida. Other searches show that  Faiz Al-Abideen is well-known Saudi businessman and adviser to members of Saudi Arabia e royal family.

Ragindra Persaud is the Chief Executive Officer of Nand Persaud and Company.

Government wants interested companies, if successful, to remain in the sugarcane industry to utilise the machinery and other infrastructure that are on the selling block and rehire some of the thousands of workers who have been laid off as a result of the closure of those estates earlier this year.

NICIL has, however, been restarting operations at Skeldon, Albion, Rose Hall and Enmore to keep them as going concerns rather than allow them to depreciate further.