While making it clear that the sale of Road Town Wholesale (RTW) to North West Company out of Canada is yet to be finalised, founder of RTW Peter Haycraft has criticized the government for taking more than a year to approve the sale.
Indications are that the National Democratic Party government will finally approve the sale of RTW which operates several local stores including RiteWay, Haycraft said.
“In theory, they have given their okay under certain conditions. Those conditions have been accepted by North West.”
“It’s moving ahead – thanks to the government, very slowly. I mean, why did the government take so long to do something that they could have done so very quickly?” Haycraft asked while speaking with BVI News Online.
In the meantime, the businessman stated that both North West and RTW are yet to sign the necessary paperwork that affects the completion of the sale.
“Our shareholders have to sign certain documents. North West also have to get approval from the Toronto Stock Exchange. Once that’s all done, we’ll be in a position to say ‘Right, we’re ready to go ahead and make it (the sale) public,” Haycraft further said.
He, who promised to disclose more at a later date, declined to specify the conditions that the government said should be met ahead of the impending sale.
Some members of the government had raised concern that most local supermarkets may be forced out of operations because they may not be able to compete with North West, which is a multi-national grocery and retail firm.
North West also operates the Cost-U-Less brand in Caribbean countries such as the US Virgin Islands, Barbados, St Martin and the Cayman Islands.
Haycraft, in May last year, defended the likely sale of RTW to the foreign investor, adding that he had made significant effort to find an investor capable of keeping RTW afloat.
According to Haycraft, the likely sale of RTW will also not negatively affect the current shareholders.
He, in May last year, explained: “I use the term ‘business partner’ to describe the proposed investors since the separate identity of RTW will remain, and many local shareholders including myself may well choose to retain their investment in it. Importantly, any shareholder of RTW may remain a shareholder. No one is being squeezed out. To conclude, I firmly believe that the proposed investment and partnership is in the very best interest of RTW and of the BVI as a whole.”
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