Monday, June 25, 2007

The BS&T saga: The re-colonisation of Barbados?

Now, I can't claim to know much about the inner workings of business in Barbados and the region, except what I've gleaned from news reports. I don't know a whole lot about the business of Neal & Massy Holdings of Trinidad, (except I enjoy their award-winning steelpan group) and I know even less about their rival, Ansa McAl.

What I do know is that both of them are competing for the Barbados-owned Barbados Shipping and Trading (BS&T) and it looks to be a long, hard fight. Neal and Massy is going the "friendly merger" route, promising better returns for shareholders and reassuring us all that there would be no loss of jobs. Ansa McAl however, is proposing what amounts to a straight up takeover, outdoing Neal & Massy's share offer of $5.51 and offering $7 per share. Ansa McAl is also preparing to put up half a billion dollars for the outstanding 75.3 million BS&T shares. Neal & Massy owns approximately 17 million of BS&T's shares.

How did BS&T find itself in this position? Some people say the company was run inefficiently, that it was myopic and made itself a "sitting duck". Who will shareholders choose, Ansa McAl or Neal and Massy? What's the difference, many Bajans might ask, since they're both Trini companies bidding to control yet another Barbadian company. What worries me is that if Ansa McAl wins, they will effectively control food importation and distribution in Barbados, since they already own Stokes and Bynoe and Brydens Distribution. Yeah, yeah it's all Caribbean, but within CARICOM we still have our individual sovereignty and ours seems to be disappearing bit by bit...

Let's do a tally here to see who owns or partially owns what in Barbados, shall we?

Neal and Massy
G4S Security Services Limited (holding 49%)
Barbados Shipping and Trading (holding over 20%)
T. Geddes Grant

Ansa McAl
Stokes and Bynoe
Consolidated Finance
McEnearney Quality Inc
Brydens Distribution
Brydens Insurance
A & R Tempro

And what will these Trinidadian companies gain from owning/merging with BS&T?
The Autodome Inc.
Agro Chemicals Inc.
BCB Communications Inc.
Booth Steamship Co. (Barbados) Ltd.
BS&T International Development, LC
Cargo Handlers Ltd.
Dacosta Mannings Inc.
Knights Ltd.
Little Bristol Inc.
Magna (Jamaica) Ltd.
Magna Rewards (St. Lucia) Ltd.
Magna Rewards (Trinidad) Ltd.
Magna Rewards Caribbean Inc.
Magna Rewards Inc.
Peronne Manufacturing Co. Ltd.
Roberts Manufacturing Co. Ltd.
S.P. Musson Son & Co. Ltd.
SBI Distribution Inc.
Seawell Air Services Ltd.
Sunset Crest Holdings Inc.
Super Centre Ltd.
United Insurance Co. Ltd.
Warrens Motors Inc.
Warrens Realty Inc.
Wimcal Ltd.

The next few days should be very interesting. We better learn to like Catelli ketchup fast...

Photo: BS&T Chairman, Sir Allan Fields, plays pan.
Courtesy of

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

why don't we just save us all some trouble and call Barbados 'Trinidad II', hmmm?