Published On: Mon, Sep 23rd, 2019

Minister Geerlings says UTS share sale to pay off arrears and retroactive payments for justice workers

MinFIN UTS Share Sale Transfer Signing

POND ISLAND – On Monday September 9, Sint Maarten’s 12.5 per cent share of United Telecommunications Services (UTS) was acquired by Liberty Latin America Ltd. (LLA).

The governments of Curaçao and St. Maarten held stakes in UTS of 87.5 per cent and 12.5 per cent, respectively. In March this year, LLA acquired Curaçao’s 87.5 per cent of UTS and the acquisition of the remaining 12.5 per cent now results in LLA owning 100 per cent of UTS.

Minister Geerlings said that the sale of shares means an additional cash flow for government which will be used mainly to pay off certain payment arrears, including possibly needed retroactive payments to the justice workers at the Sint Maarten Police Force.

Minister Geerlings added that although the sale means an additional cash flow for government, the goal of government is not to sell the assets of the Country to generate additional income.

Because of the decision of Curaçao to sell their majority share in UTS, Sint Maarten had no other option than to sell their minority share for the most favourable price at this moment before dilution of shares would become a reality with the risk of the shares losing their value.

Other options than selling the shares of Sint Maarten have been investigated by government. However, the sale of shares by Sint Maarten turned out to be the best possible option considering the sales conditions and risks related to not selling the shares at this point in time.

The sale of the shares of Sint Maarten took longer than the sale of the Curaçao shares because of the legislative process that Sint Maarten still had to go through, where Curaçao already went through this process.

The deadline for the sale of the Sint Maarten shares initially was set on June 1 by the buyer, but after conversations with the buyer some time was granted until the beginning of September to finalize the legislative process.

During this period the Minister of Finance and his team worked hard, together with other government departments and the Sint Maarten sales committee members, to negotiate the final terms of sale to be in the best interest of Sint Maarten as much as possible and to have all proper documents in place before the set deadline by the buyer.

PHOTO CUTLINE: L to R: Minister of Justice Hon. Cornelius de Weever, Minister of Finance Hon. Perry Geerlings while representatives of LLA and the Cabinets of the Ministers look on.