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Bajan company wants stake in Winn-Dixie


by Tameka Lundy

The shareholders of the City Markets and Winn-Dixie supermarket chain would entertain an application from the Barbados-based shipping company interested in acquiring a stake only after that company has secured local approvals, Chairman of the board of BSL Holdings Ltd. J. Barrie Farrington told the Bahama Journal.

BSL recently purchased Winn-Dixie Holdings local stake in Bahamas Supermarkets Limited for US$56 million, making it the majority shareholder of the organization which operates the 12 supermarket chain.{{more}}

Farrington explained that Barbados Shipping and Trading [BS&T] had expressed an interest in acquiring an equity position when the company was formed.

“But that was not possible [at the time] and there was no agreement made that subsequent to the completion of the purchase of the Winn-Dixie interest that there would be an automatic move to have the Barbados group acquire an equity position in the company,” he said.

“…If they can obtain government approval as a non-Bahamian investor, the shareholders [would] entertain their application to become a shareholder.”

He maintained that there is no agreement in place at this point.

The Nation newspaper based in Barbados reported that BS&T’s investment in BSL Holdings is pending the submission of an application to the Bahamian Government for approval to secure a 40 per cent shareholding in that company. Shareholding in BSL Holdings includes Bahamian pension funds, corporate entities and private individuals.

In addition, the newspaper reported that BS&T has been awarded a management oversight contract for the supermarket chain, but there was no local confirmation of that. Mr Farrington suggested that Chairman of Bahamas Supermarkets Basil Sands could best respond to that particular enquiry. Up to press time Sands could not be reached for comment.