‘Evaluating Alternatives, Including Potential Sale’

January 28, 2019 | 19 Comments

[Updated] The Bermuda Stock Exchange has suspended trading of the common shares of the Ascendant Group — the parent company of BELCO — “pending an announcement by the Company.”

In a statement this morning [Jan 28], the BSX said, “At the request of Ascendant Group Limited, the Bermuda Stock Exchange has suspended trading of Ascendant’s common shares pending an announcement by the Company.”

What the “announcement” will be is unclear at this time, however we have requested further information and will update as able.

Update 10.53pm: Ascendant said they are “evaluating strategic alternatives, including the potential sale of Ascendant Group Limited.”

A statement from the Ascendant Board said, “The Board of Directors of Ascendant Group Limited today announced that it has begun a process of evaluating strategic alternatives, including the potential sale of Ascendant Group Limited.

“The Company understands that its responsibility is to a broad group of stakeholders, including shareholders, customers, employees, and regulators.

“Each of these stakeholders brings to bear on the Company a wide range of perspectives and expectations. Furthermore, the industry in which we operate is facing unprecedented change, and—with change—we must have the ability to explore and leverage new opportunities for the betterment of Bermuda.

“For our shareholders we are pleased that we have increased the Company’s share price from $5 to $17 over the last 5 years. The market value remains well under book value.

“We know our Bermuda Electric Light Company Limited’s [BELCO] customers want lower rates and we are actively focused on reducing these through finding efficiencies in how we operate every aspect of our company.

“We have laid the groundwork for Bermuda’s energy future with flexibility at the forefront, so the island can pursue any energy mix that is appropriate.

“Current infrastructure improvements to the electricity system include replacement generators that will ensure a cost effective, reliable supply of energy for the foreseeable future, irrespective of any additional generation sources.

“Through the commitment and hard work of our employees, we are modernising the grid and installing advanced metering infrastructure island wide so that Bermuda can pursue the most advanced energy technology in the future.

“We are also mindful of the needs of our employees. As we strive to become more efficient, we are committed to balancing the needs of employees against the need to reduce electricity prices for our customers.

“With respect to regulation, the mandate is to lower rates through increased competition in electricity generation, as well as to ensure renewables play a larger role in the island’s energy mix. Renewable energy is the future, but there is currently a gap between that future and today’s need for reliable and affordable energy.

“Among the range of alternatives we see ahead, the Company, with the assistance of its financial advisor Guggenheim Securities LLC, is exploring the potential benefits that a new owner of Ascendant can bring to Bermuda — including greater access to capital for domestic investment and the infrastructure development expertise necessary to accelerate the next phase of BELCO’s evolution.

“We remain enthusiastic about the future prospects of Ascendant, to the benefit of all of our stakeholders.”

Update 3.40pm: In response to our queries, Regulatory Authority Chief Executive Denton Williams said, “The Regulatory Authority has a role to play in approving the change of ownership of any organisation it regulates, which would include Ascendant as the parent company of BELCO, a regulated entity.

“As no application for such has been made to the Authority, there is nothing for the Authority to comment on at this time.”

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Comments (19)

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  1. inna says:

    Government buy-out??

  2. JIGGSBDA says:

    That would be a disaster

  3. Family Man says:

    It seems the new appointment at the regulatory authority is already having an effect.

  4. DeOnion says:

    What about their other companies like aircare? Are they up for sale to?

  5. red rose says:

    Is the speaker of the house still involved with the other group that was sniffing around belco last year?

  6. Zzzz says:

    Why would it be necessary for public company to sell it’s self? The share holders have liquidity. Must be something in it for the management.

    • sandgrownan says:

      It’s not a public company. It’s a private company that’s publically traded. Pedantic, I know, but it’s an important distinction.

      What mustn’t happen though, is that it becomes truly public, i.e. state owned. That’s a recipe for mismanagement, low accountability and turning it into a “welfare state”.

      • sandgrownan says:

        Forgot to add, political interference. Name me anywhere where that’s been a good thing.

  7. loctite says:

    Fortunately, you don’t need electricity to grow bananas, which is where this island is headed.

  8. gustav says:

    PLP shoud buy it , LOL
    indeed an government own electric organization has a certain charme , but our government prefers to spent the little remaining money by attracting bitcoin companies , who will spoil us soon anyway.

  9. Bermuda Tuna says:

    Ray Charles could have seen this coming, There is zero confidence in Bermuda’s infrastructure and businesses.
    Anyone who has vision has long gotten their investment out of the Island because we have always been held ransom by a certain group.
    They went out Two Rock passage long ago in the late 70s, even they saw it coming.
    Water is coming in the boat fast!

  10. Mark says:

    Must be why the Pee L Pee shoved Renee Furbert all the way to Belgium; bet Burt has someone equally incompetent lined up to mess this one up.

  11. Friends and Family says:

    So let’s see. The company previously interested wanted “new technology”. The stacks are already being built for old technology, so rule them out, they won’t be interested. My prediction, a Canadian company currently buying up utilities in the Caribbean will be interested and probably with a deal that the current CEO, the Canadian guy, will get a job with them and still run the BELCO. Umm, bet his contract gives a bonus for an increase in stock price which happens with these sales and additional bonus for an increase in profit through a gain on sale of the business. Maybe I am wrong, but I doubt it. The government should have sent him packing.

    • Make a New Plan Stan says:

      Also with the sale of the company they can address any over staffing (read: pesky/rebel rousing) issues……do some weeding like most companies do when they change hands.

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