A number of international investors have expressed an interest in the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo), and according to Chief Executive Officer Sase Singh, their Expressions of Interest (EoIs) are currently being reviewed.
During an exclusive interview with this publication, Singh was asked about investors in GuySuCo. Last year, it had been reported that there were local and foreign investors who are interested in GuySuCo. According to Singh, they are in receipt of 10 EoIs that are being reviewed.
“We went to market for some Expressions of Interest and we’ve gotten 10 serious expressions that have been shared with the decision-makers. At the management level, we remain open and ready to implement any partnership, because as I said this entire business makes sense around that whole concept of partnership.”
“This idea that we alone gotta do it, doesn’t make sense. The technology has advanced way past what GuySuCo is aware of. In Brazil, India and the United States, they are doing sugar much more efficiently than we are. And also, the model also involves a lot of hybrid products. There’s the idea of sugar, ethanol mix. Think about Guyana. But this is depending on high-level policy reviews.”
Singh floated the idea of producing ethanol as a percentage of fuel for automobiles. But he noted that this will all be subject to discussion and GuySuCo stands ready to implement whatever its shareholders want implemented.
The former Government had closed the Wales Estate in 2016, and subsequently shut down the Enmore, Rose Hall and Skeldon Estates. The downsizing of the sugar industry resulted in only the Uitvlugt, Blairmont and Albion Estates remaining operational, with them seeking to divest the Skeldon factory.
They then established the Special Purpose Unit (SPU) under the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) to take over the divestment of GuySuCo’s assets that were earmarked for sale.
The SPU then recruited PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to conduct a valuation of the assets to be privatised and divested. However, the divestment hit a snag after the December 2018 No-Confidence Motion and the then Government was forced to admit that investors who were previously eager to buy up assets were holding back owing to the political climate.
After taking office last year, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP/C) Government announced in the 2020 Emergency Budget presented in September 2020, that some $5 billion would be injected into the sugar industry for the phased reopening of the closed estates.
An initial $3 billion was earmarked for critical works for the remainder of 2020 while an assessment was simultaneously carried out on the state of the assets and the level of reinvestments needed at the Enmore, Rose Hall and Skeldon Estates for their reopening.
Last year, the Government advertised seeking EoIs from investors seeking to invest in sugar and also lend their technical expertise to resuscitate the industry. The public-private partnership model has been touted as the best way to revamp GuySuCo.
GuySuCo has also been allocated $2 billion in Budget 2021 by the People’s Progressive Party (PPP/C) Government, for capital works to be undertaken at the various estates to help in the turnaround of the sugar industry.