Regional Governments Sign Off On USD 65 Million Loan Agreements for LIAT
The four major Shareholder Governments in the Regional airline LIAT (1974) Limited have signed loan agreements for USD 65 million from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to assist with the purchase of new aircraft for LIAT in the context of a Fleet Modernisation Project. At the official signing ceremony on Friday, August 9, 2013, at the CDB's Headquarters in Barbados, the Prime Ministers of Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, as well as the Financial Secretary (Ag.) of the Commonwealth of Dominica signed off on the agreements which provide for the loans to be on-lent to, and repaid by, LIAT at an interest rate of 3.95% per annum (variable), over a thirteen-year period, following a grace period of two years. Co-financing for the Project, to the equivalent of USD 41.7 million, is being provided by shareholder equity contributions and from the sale of LIAT's existing fleet of Dash-8 aircraft. The loans allocations are based upon each country's shareholding, with the Government of Barbados receiving USD 33.2 million; the Government of Antigua and Barbuda USD 21.9 million; the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines USD 7.5 million and the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica USD 2.4 million. Describing the most recent loan as yet another milestone in CDB's long association with LIAT, CDB President, Dr. Warren Smith noted, "Our relationship dates back to 1975 when we funded the purchase of aircraft, spares and equipment to improve its (LIAT's) inter-island air service in the Eastern Caribbean. In the ensuing years we have provided financing to the tune of USD 153 million to improve and safeguard the financial viability of LIAT. CDB remains committed to LIAT and the development of intra-regional air transportation in the Caribbean. . reliable and efficient regional air transportation is an indispensable underpinning of Caribbean development. . LIAT's services are therefore important to the continued viability and sustainability of the Region's critical industries including agriculture, Tourism and other services." The Fleet Modernisation Project involves: the replacement of LIAT's aging fleet through a combination of lease and purchase of aircraft; financing the transition costs associated with the changeover; the upgrade of maintenance facilities; and other institutional strengthening activities. LIAT has already taken delivery of two of the leased aircraft and expects five more aircraft by January 2014, including three of the purchased ATR42s. The loans were approved by the Bank's Board of Directors during a meeting at its Headquarters in Barbados on July 18, 2013. CAPTION: CDB President, Dr. Warren Smith (centre) signs the loan agreement on behalf of the Bank. Looking on are: (L-R, seated) LIAT Chairman, Dr. Jean Holder; Prime Minister of Barbados, the Hon. Freundel Stuart; Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. the Hon. Ralph Gonsalves; and Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, the Hon. Dr. Winston Baldwin Spencer. Not shown is Financial Secretary (Ag.) of the Commonwealth of Dominica, Mrs. Francisca Pascal. Visit our Photo Library to view more images of this event.