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Receivers appointed to find buyer for Horizon

Gilbert “Artie” Darrell, the founder of Horizon Communications, which has called in the receivers (File photograph)

Receivers have been appointed at Horizon Communications with the aim of finding a buyer for the company.

The firm provides high-speed internet access to business and domestic customers across the island.

A statement last night evening announced that Michael Morrison and Charles Thresh, of Teneo (Bermuda), were made joint receivers on January 5 “under a debenture held by a lender of Horizon, which is an affiliate of a Bermuda investment fund (the ‘Lender’)”.

The move comes shortly after the telecommunications firm said it expected to have to make staff redundant after being unable to get a second round of funding.

Horizon got initial funding from the Bermuda Infrastructure Fund, which was established in 2018.

Mr Thresh, head of Teneo’s financial advisory business in Bermuda, said: “We have been appointed by the lender to pursue a sale of Horizon’s business and/or assets.

“The lender has agreed to fund Horizon’s operations from the date of our appointment, whilst a purchaser is sought.”

Mr Thresh said he was hopeful that the business could be sold as a going concern.

He said: “It is too early to say whether such a sale will be possible; however, the joint receivers are hopeful that the business can be sold as a going concern, with its employees retained by the new owner and continued services being provided to Horizon’s valued customers.

“We are therefore actively working with Horizon’s management to identify interested parties.

“Any such sale is subject to the approval of the Bermuda Regulatory Authority.”

Horizon founder and chief executive Gilbert “Artie” Darrell said the firm was working “diligently” with the receivers to try and resolve the situation.

He said: “Horizon is glad to be working with a well-known adviser like Teneo.

“We are diligently working with Teneo to review options for new capital into the company which would allow us to continue to keep our staff and continue to provide service to our customer base.

“There will be no interruption to service for our customers.”

Just before Christmas, Mr Darrell said the company had told staff that “some or many” of them could lose their jobs.

He said at the time: “We are trying to raise our second capital round. So far we haven’t had much success but we haven’t had a lot of time to work on it.

“Our original investors, the Bermuda Infrastructure Fund, their funding period had closed so we only had a short amount of time to get the next capital round in the door.

“It’s going to be an interesting and painful few months. We have had to tell staff that some or many staff might not be able to survive the transition.”

Wave Bermuda Ltd launched trading as Horizon and later changed its name to Horizon Communications. It has about 24 local staff and six local and overseas contractors.

The company is one of a few to benefit from investment from the BIF, managed by Fortress Investment Group.

BIF was set up in 2018 and attracted about $88 million in funds from sources including international companies and, for the establishment of the fund, the Government, to help to finance Bermuda infrastructure-related projects.

The Government announced that the Regulatory Authority had issued Horizon with a communication licence effective from August 24, 2020, the same time it issued licences to two other companies also operating selected communications services in Bermuda.

At the time of licensing, Mr Darrell declined to reveal how much the BIF had committed to Horizon, but said the capital needed to launch the network amounted to “many millions of dollars”.

Mr Darrell would not say how much was needed to save the company, just that discussions were continuing with investors and the BIF.

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Published January 07, 2023 at 1:58 pm (Updated January 07, 2023 at 1:58 pm)

Receivers appointed to find buyer for Horizon

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