Time to say ‘yes’ to Ascendant Group sale

  • Delayed deal: government approval of Ascendant Group’s sale to Alonquin Power and Utilities Corp would inject hundreds of millions of dollars into the Bermuda economy (File photograph)

    Delayed deal: government approval of Ascendant Group’s sale to Alonquin Power and Utilities Corp would inject hundreds of millions of dollars into the Bermuda economy (File photograph)


Dear Sir,

In August of last year, the shareholders of Ascendant Group Ltd overwhelmingly voted in favour of selling the company to Algonquin Power and Utilities Corp. The sale of Ascendant to Algonquin will have significant benefits to Bermuda, the first of which will be an injection of more than $200 million to Bermudian shareholders and into the local economy.

Proceeds from the sale will be distributed directly to several thousand people on the island so that they can spend and invest at their discretion. Past experience from similar transactions, where a large local entity was sold, suggests that much of this money will be spent locally.

As a result, Bermudian shareholders will have funds on hand to invest in real estate, retirement savings vehicles, or other forms of investments that drive the local economy.

This injection of $200 million equates to approximately 3 per cent of our annual gross domestic product, which has been essentially flat for several years.

This new money circulating in our economy will give a much needed boost to retail sales, which have also been declining for several years.

I understand that the Ascendant board is confident that the sale will ensure Bermuda, and Bermuda Electric Light Company’s customers, are well served with reliable electricity that will be cleaner, more efficient and more cost-effective.

Algonquin has publicly committed to significant investment in Belco and Bermuda without any job cuts. In fact, they have said with their $300 million investment in renewable power, that there will be new job opportunities for Bermudians.

At this moment, Bermuda is in need of foreign investment and world-class companies to express confidence in our economic future.

Algonquin is a world-class renewable utility operator and a multibillion-dollar enterprise that is willing to support our island. They have the capital resources, the technology, and a proven track record of committing to, and improving, the local communities in which they operate.

Why hasn’t the Government said “yes” to this transaction after six months? Why the silence? What is the problem?

ROBERT STEWART

Smith’s

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Published Mar 9, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Mar 9, 2020 at 8:14 am)

Time to say ‘yes’ to Ascendant Group sale

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