The Antigua and Barbuda government says it will sell 10 per cent of its shares in the state-owned West Indies Oil Company (WIOC).
Founded in 1961, WIOC was purchased in 1976 by the government, which four years later sold 75 per cent of the company to National Petroleum. WIOC facilities operate only as a terminal for oil products with capacity for storing up to 322,000 barrels.
The government recently acquired 51 per cent in the company and according to a statement issued following Thursday’s Cabinet meeting noted the Gaston Browne government had decided to “lower its shareholding in WIOC to 41 per cent of the shares, down from 51 per cent of the shares which it holds.
“It will sell-off the 10 per cent in the WIOC to Antiguans and Barbudans, utilizing a crowd-funding mechanism. The shares to be sold would be deposited within a bank, or other financial institution, and caps would be placed on the amount which any single living person can purchase,” the statement, said, noting that “this approach would allow multiple owners of the WIOC shares to be sold, rather than permit a single purchaser to gobble-up all the shares that will be offered for sale”.
The statement described WIOC as ‘a very profitable business that yields a profit each year”.
It said that the money raised from the sale of the shares will be deposited with National Asset Management Company for investment in other enterprises.