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Stevedoring parent company to reapply after unsuccessful bid for 60/40 rule relief

Polaris Holding Company Ltd, the parent company of dock services company Stevedoring Services, has been turned down in its application to seek relief from the 60/40 rule — but it intends to reapply.

In a statement released through the Bermuda Stock Exchange on Monday, Polaris said it had hoped to obtain the exemption by the end of January.

A successful application would remove the requirement for 60 percent Bermudian ownership, thereby lifting barriers to foreign investment in the company.

In a filing to the BSX, Polaris said the exemption, “originally to be effective 2nd January, 2013, please be advised that we are in receipt of a notice from the Ministry dated 11th December, 2012, stating that criteria was not satisfied. At this juncture, Polaris Holding Company Ltd wishes to formally advise The Bermuda Stock Exchange of its intention to reapply for this relief, by the end of January, 2013.”

The company has had other, unconnected dealings with Government this month.

On December 7, former Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Patrice Minors referred a dispute between Stevedoring and the Bermuda Industrial Union to the Labour Disputes Tribunal.

When it appeared that lay-offs were imminent, Ms Minors went to court to obtain an injunction to prevent any further action by either Stevedoring or the BIU. Stevedoring has since said it was preparing an appeal.

On December 17, a new One Bermuda Alliance government took power by defeating the Progressive Labour Party at the polls.

Polaris applied for 60/40 exemption in late November. At that time, CEO Peter Aldrich said: “While Polaris has no definitive plans to diversify its shareholdings, the ability to do so may open up opportunities that do not exist under the current structure.

“The company sees this as a positive and prudent step for possible future expansion and access to investment capital in a very expensive industry.”

An amendment to the Companies Act earlier this year allowed publicly traded companies in certain “prescribed industries”, one of which is transportation, to apply for 60/40 rule relief.

The easing of the restrictions makes it easier for qualifying BSX-listed companies to raise capital, by giving them unrestricted access to foreign investors.

Ascendant Group Ltd and KeyTech Ltd were successful in their applications for relief from the 60/40 rule.

Unsuccessful: Polaris, the parent company of Stevedoring Services, intends to reapply after its unsuccessful bid for relief from the 60/40 rule.

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Published December 27, 2012 at 8:00 am (Updated December 26, 2012 at 7:09 pm)

Stevedoring parent company to reapply after unsuccessful bid for 60/40 rule relief

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