Newly appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) Sandra Sealy says that utility regulatory body is keeping a close eye on the developments within the telecommunications and renewable energy sectors to ensure the interest of consumers are protected.
The assurance came a day after the international cable giant Liberty Global agreed to purchase Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC), which trades here as FLOW. It also follows the announcement by the Canadian energy company Emera Inc., which owns Barbados Light & Power (BL&P), that it intends to acquire 100 per cent stake in Emera Caribbean Inc.
In a brief interview with Barbados TODAY, Sealy said the FTC would continue to work closely with all stakeholders in the renewable energy sector as officials here seek to expand it.
“The Commission is keeping an eye on all the developments in both the electricity and telecommunications sectors. We, under our Fair Competition Act, will be having an eye to the developments and where necessary, we will, as always, act in the interest of Barbados and the consumers in Barbados,” she promised.
However, when asked what was the process in terms of Liberty’s acquisition of CWC’s operations in Barbados, Sealy declined comment saying, “I can’t speak to that right now”.
She also would not say if either company had contacted the FTC. However, Sealy said “we have been advised about the [acquisition] and we will be evaluating that in the next couple of days”.
Yesterday, CWC said it agreed to sell its operations to Liberty Global in a deal worth US$8.2 billion, including debt.
In confirming the move, CWC Chief Executive Phil Bentley gave the assurance that the takeover should result in “different” content and quality along with “continued investment” in the region.
He also promised that a name change was unlikely, while stressing that the
buyout was an opportunity for “growth”.
In the case of Emera, officials hailed the move to expand its Caribbean reach as a benefit to Barbadians, explaining that it was an opportunity for Barbados to have Emera depository receipts listed on the Barbados Stock Exchange and for Barbadians to invest in the Canadian firm.