Falklands’ Law compliance needed for any Islands’ major assets change of ownership

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Saturday, March 18th 2017 – 09:52 UTC

“The Government of the Falkland Islands has noted with interest, Dolphin Fund’s communication with FIH shareholders on March 14” said the FIG release.“The Government of the Falkland Islands has noted with interest, Dolphin Fund’s communication with FIH shareholders on March 14” said the FIG release.
  
Dolphin Fund belongs to one of Argentina's richest men, property billionaire Eduardo Elsztain, who also jointly owns  Argentina’s biggest mortgage lenderDolphin Fund belongs to one of Argentina’s richest men, property billionaire Eduardo Elsztain, who also jointly owns Argentina’s biggest mortgage lender
The original bidder for FIH, Staunton Holdings Limited, is a company linked to the Rowland Family, of which FIH Chairman Edmund Rowland is a member

The Falkland Islands government, FIG, stated on Friday that any proposal change of ownership affecting assets held in the Islands will be scrutinized for compliance with Falklands law. The statement follows the Argentine Dolphin Fund’s announcement to the London Stock Exchange, earlier this week, of its interest in taking over the private company Falkland Islands Holdings, FIH.

“The Government of the Falkland Islands has noted with interest, Dolphin Fund’s communication with FIH shareholders on March 14” said the FIG release.

Nevertheless, “while this is a matter for the shareholders to decide, the Government continues to closely monitor the status of Dolphin Fund’s potential bid”, since any proposed change of ownership affecting assets in the Islands, “will be scrutinized for compliance with Falkland Islands Law”.

The Falklands’ weekly Penguin News had anticipated the news when it revealed that a company called Dolphin Fund Limited made an announcement on the London Stock Exchange last Wednesday about a possible offer for Falkland Islands Holdings, the parent company of FIC.

The contact details given for Dolphin’s announcement were the company’s investment managers in Montevideo and its financial advisers in London. However, in a previous notice submitted by Dolphin last month, it gave as its contact the Managing Partner of a firm of lawyers in Buenos Aires.

Dolphin said it had written to the Board of FIH Group plc asking for information to enable it to evaluate making a cash offer for FIH, at what Dolphin said would be a significant premium to the current offer of £3 per share made by Staunton Holdings Limited.
Dolphin said it wishes to enter into a constructive dialogue with FIH and its major shareholder with a view to making a recommended offer in due course.

The original bidder for FIH, Staunton Holdings Limited, is a company linked to the Rowland Family, of which FIH Chairman Edmund Rowland is a member. He is the son of Tory controversial donor David Rowland.

Another company linked to the Rowland Family already owned 22.65% of FIH and Staunton owns another 2.34%. Dolphin currently owns 2.54%.

It was later revealed that the Dolphin Fund belongs to one of Argentina’s richest men, property billionaire Eduardo Elsztain, who also jointly owns Banco Hipotecario, Argentina’s biggest mortgage lender, with the government.

London media reports indicated that if Mr. Elsztain makes a formal offer, it will apparently test the Prime Minister’s pledge to block foreign takeovers not in the national interest. However UK’s former business secretary Sir Vince Cable said: “The grounds on which the Government can intervene in public interest are quite limited.

“But if it is a national security issue and some Argentines are trying to take over the Islands by the back door, I would have thought that would be a very good case for intervention.”

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “This is a commercial matter between two companies and not for the Foreign Office to comment on.”

On Friday, Staunton said it did not want to enter dialogue with Dolphin and lowered the threshold required for its takeover to go through from 90% to 50%.

FIH traces its roots to 1852 when its subsidiary, the Falkland Islands Company, was granted Royal Charter status. The company now also owns an art dealer and the Portsmouth Harbor Ferry Company, but is still the Islands’ largest landowner.

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Naval ship HMS Enterprise on research voyage to Antarctic

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HMS Enterprise on County wharf

HMS Enterprise on County wharf

12 hrs ago / David Barnicoat

The Royal Navy survey ship HMS Enterprise a ship we have seen many times in Falmouth for drydocking during her career is carrying out scientific research in Antarctica.

More than 7,000 miles from her home in Plymouth, the survey ship is spending the end of the Austral summer supporting British scientists and using her hi-tech array of sensors to update naval charts produced long before computers and underwater sonars.

The ship handed duties to her sister HMS Echo last autumn, then headed to the Falkland Islands to relieve regular patrol ship HMS Clyde.

The rare visit to the Falklands has allowed HMS Enterprise to update charts and survey the wrecks of RN ships in time for 35th anniversary commemorations of the 1982 conflict later this year.

Joining the ship for the three-day trip to South Georgia were the senior officer in the Falklands, Commodore Darren Bone, British Antarctic Survey (BAS) experts, troops from the Roulement Infantry Company and the island’s Rapier air-defence battery. BAS scientists recorded whales and dolphins en-route.

HMS Enterprise navigator Lieutenant Kyle O’Regan had to resort to using old-fashioned charts produced using lead lines to record depths many years ago when he guided the ship safely into harbour.

The sailors spent two days in the capital of the island using their small survey launch Spitfire to chart the shallowest waters, getting close to even more wildlife – fur and elephant seals, albatross and yet more penguins – and enduring every possible weather event: snow, high winds, rain, glorious sunshine.

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Falkland Islands – a land of sheep

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Woolhandler Reba Peck, manager Jack Wilson, and shearer Lee Molkenbuhr are three of five members of the Falkland Islands ...

John Hawkins

Woolhandler Reba Peck, manager Jack Wilson, and shearer Lee Molkenbuhr are three of five members of the Falkland Islands team competing at the 2017 World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships at Stadium Southland, Invercargill.

Running out of sheep to shear is not an issue for farmers on the Falkland Islands.

While most people might not immediately associate the Falkland Islands with shearing, sheep are very much part of the fabric of the South American islands.

According to the 2012 census, there were only 2,932 permanent residents living in the British Overseas Territory.

There are, however, more than 450,000 sheep spread over the sub-antarctic archipelago – equating to more than 150 for every human.

In comparison, there are presently only about six sheep for every person in New Zealand.

The Falklands have sent a team of five for the Shearing World Championships, an event they have been attending regularly since the 1980s.

All of the team, except manager Jack Wilson, grew up and learnt their craft in the Falklands.

Originally from Lawrence in Otago, Wilson has been living on the islands for the past 20 years.

“I went over to shear sheep in 1995, and after 1997 I sort of just stayed there.”

Wilson said it was the lifestyle and the people that swayed him to stay.

“I didn’t really know anything about it before I went there, other than the war in 1982.

“You’re not in a stressful community – you work reasonably long hours but you live well.”

Most of the islands’ inhabitants live in the capital, Stanley, with many others working on the sheep farms throughout the rest of the islands.

Shearer Lee Molkenbuhr said while the setup for shearing in New Zealand was similar to what they were used to back home, Falkland Islands sheep were quite different.

Because of the average growing conditions and harsh winter weather, merinos were the most common sheep, used primarily for their wool, Molkenbuhr said.

“Merino can live on poorer quality feed than a lot of other breeds.”

Molkenbuhr and fellow shearer Paul Phillips have been in the country since January to prepare for the competition.

“We’ve been working out on a farm in Te Kuiti, and came down to Invercargill last Monday.

“For us it’s different sheep to get used to. We also don’t shear lambs in the Falklands because it would be too cold for them.”

Wilson said the team was hopeful of a good performance during the next few days.

“There’s a lot of stiff competition, but everybody’s got a chance on the day.

“If they have a good shear, they’ve got a good shot of making the final.”

Wilson said there was a lot of interest from fans following the competition back home, with people keeping tabs on the results as they were coming in.

 

 – Stuff

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CIA had secret plan to give Falkland Islands to Argentina and relocate islanders to Scotland

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Plans call for appropriate penalty after Argentinians ‘used armed force to seek to settle an international dispute’

  • The Independent Online

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The United Kingdom retained the islands at a cost of the lives of more than 900 British, Argentine and Falkland Islander lives Fox Photos/Getty Images

The US had plans to give the Falkland Islands to Argentina and relocate the islanders to Scotland, secret CIA papers reveal.

Titled “Solution to the Falkland Islands crisis,” the paper appears to suggest the intelligence agency thought the UK would lose the 1982 conflict.

It was written by Henry Rowen, then head of the National Intelligence Council, and are part of 12 million formerly-classified papers released by the CIA this week.

falklands2.jpg

falklands3.jpg

“For a period of three years the inhabitants of the Falkland Islands will be given a chance to consider whether they wish to remain on the Falkland Islands or whether they wish to relocate to an area of British jurisdiction, either in the UK or elsewhere under British sovereignty, with a relocation grant of $100,000 per person,” Mr Rowen wrote.

“It is likely that many residents will find this sufficient inducement to relocate to some other area, perhaps in Scotland or elsewhere where conditions may be similar to the Falkland Islands.”

He adds: “Any residents who do not wish to relocate will be free to remain and become Argentinian citizens at the end of three years.

“The cost of the relocation grants to be paid to any residents of the Falkland Islands wishing to relocate elsewhere will be borne fifty/fifty by the Argentinian and British governments.”

The plans were addressed to Paul Wolfowitz, a Department of State advisor to President Ronald Reagan.

They also called for “some appropriate penalty upon the Argentinians for having used armed force to seek to settle an international dispute.”

The United Kingdom retained the islands at a cost of the lives of more than 900 British, Argentine and Falkland Islander lives.

The outcome of the war prompted large protests against Argentina’s military junta, leading to its downfall. In 1994, Argentina’s claim to the territories was added to its constitution.

In a referendum on Falkland Islands sovereignty in 2013, 99.8 per cent voted to remain a British territory — with only three votes against.

Source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/cia-falkland-islands-falklands-plan-argentina-scotland-relocation-margaret-thatcher-war-a7541846.html

Protests after Argentine ministry omits disputed islands

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Falklands government secures environmental planning contract with Aedis

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MercoPress. South Atlantic News Agency

Monday, December26th2016 – 14:33 UTC

The Falkland Islands' Environmental Planning Department retains expert assistance to ensure all new building work complies with the regulations.The Falkland Islands’ Environmental Planning Department retains expert assistance to ensure all new building work complies with the regulations.

The Falkland Islands Government have secured the services of Tees Valley based building control firm Aedis. The contract will see Aedis delivering a raft of professional consultancy services based upon their building control expertise. This includes providing a remote plan checking service to help the Falkland Islands Environmental Planning Department ensure all new building work complies with the necessary building regulations.

Aedis have previous experience in international contracts, with their most recent contract delivering expert training for a number of Israeli surveyors on behalf of Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). The Falkland Islands contract is being managed and delivered via the company’s Darlington office. It covers a range of building projects; from small domestic works, to new builds and industrial and commercial buildings.
Sarah Witherley, Head of Environmental Planning for the Falkland Islands Government, has commended the services Aedis have provided and commented “we are very pleased to be working with Aedis.  They are providing efficient and professional technical support which is enabling the Department to continue delivering an effective, high quality, building control service for the Falkland Islands.”

 

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PAC investigate £3.5 million profit at Falklands’ Government quarry

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“Whether by luck, judgement or whatever, over the past seven years, the quarry has managed to have a £3.5 million total surplus including depreciation of capital assets,” said the Public Accounts Committee chair Andrea Clausen on Tuesday.
She added: “I think that for the customers it must seem a little bit harsh, that such a level of surplus has been compiled by a non-profit making organisation, when Government has a policy of user-pays principle.”

The Public Accounts Committee met to investigate aggregate prices and the profits the Government Quarry at Pony’s Pass had made in recent years with Director of Public Works Colin Summers attending to answer questions.
Mrs Clausen said she appreciated Mr Summers had only been in the department for two of the seven years in question.
He explained that costs were calculated by expected tonnage in a year (usually between 70 – 80,000 tonnes) and needed to be sold at an average of £26.99 to break even at the quarry. If more was sold then it was likely a profit would be shown as the fixed costs would not have changed.
He said that while it was relatively detailed what FIG would use, the private sector was an area, “where we really struggle to define our annual budget,” and pointed out how variable sales had been over previous years ranging from 65 – 120,000 tonnes per annum.
He cited examples as the oil yards which had only taken half of what they had predicted, whereas Project Shackleton (MPA runway works) had doubled their prediction which had caused a spike in the revenue. Responding to a question he confirmed that FIG purchased aggregate and supplied it free of charge to construction partner Morrison (Falklands) Ltd.
Prices vary with sands sold at a reduced price which is averaged out over the different grades of aggregate. Mr Summers explained that this was so as not to impact on construction when the removal of large quantities of sand from the Yorke Bay area had been stopped.
A comparison with prices from a quarry in Orkney was offered to the committee which showed much lower prices, however Mr Summers explained that the types of rock were not comparable. In Orkney he said the product was much softer, “you could probably take a shovel to it,” while in the Falklands the material was hard and very abrasive which required blasting and caused more wear and tear on the machinery, resulting in an overall higher production cost. Depreciation on machinery (over 20 years) was calculated at £4.60 alone for every tonne produced at Pony’s Pass. He also flagged up the need to purchase up to more than a year’s supply of explosives, which was a fairly unique situation.

Mrs Clausen asked if when working out an average price was what was, “already in the bank [aggregate stocks] taken into account?”
Mr Summers said the budget was based on a year by year basis.
He added: “Submissions this year would be based on how much we think we will produce and how much we think we will sell regardless of any profits made in the past.”
Stock was taken into account in a no more scientific way than, “we know we will use it up,” said Mr Summers.
Any profit goes into the Consolidated Fund and was not held over  for the quarry.
2015/16 was Mr Summers’ first budget and, “it looks like we got it right,” he said adding that there was a small surplus at the end of the year (£3,458.00). This had been boosted by the fact some local companies had been aware of the 7.5 per cent increase in price and had bought in bulk in advance. This was however having a detrimental effect on this year with sales 30 per cent less than predicted to date.
Committee member Steve Dent said the interesting thing for him was that in 2013/14 (£1.1million surplus) and 2014/15 (£574,306 surplus) according to FIG policy, no changes were made in prices, however in both the following years (2015/16 and 16/17) there was a 7.5 per cent increase. He said he had no problem with the quarry making a minor surplus or deficit, but did have a problem with the sole supplier of an essential product for the development of the Falkland Islands making a £3.5 million surplus.
He asked why a straight year on year 7.5 per cent increase had been requested.
Mr Summers said in fact a straight 15 per cent increase had been asked for, but MLAs had opted for 7.5 over two years.
It was seen as being needed in 2015/16 as a drop-off was predicted with a lot of projects coming to an end. Fixed costs hadn’t changed and it was looking like we would not break even, Mr Summers told the committee.
Access to the actual figures were not available at that time and it later transpired that a small surplus was achieved in 2015/16.
Mrs Clausen asked if predicted sales were always used to set prices or if the Government had ever looked back to balance it out over a period of time. “That may be why members of the public had not been entirely happy when all they can see is that money has been made but not passed back to the customer.”
Mr Dent said the fundamental issue was that Government had made money, “hand over fist” out of the economic development of the Falkland Islands, “through the only place that stone can be purchased from.”
Mr Summers said he did not know what had taken place in the past, but they were now trying to look both back and ahead to set the prices using a five year plan so that prices did not fluctuate too much.
He pointed out that Pony’s Pass as the sole provider had to be able to provide the product, unlike commercial quarries such as he had worked on in the UK.
Mr Dent said he appreciated Mr Summers was not there at the time, adding, “ But I just don’t get it.” A surplus had been predicted for 2015/16, yet the cost was still increased by 7.5 per cent; where did that decision come from?
Mr Summers said he thought asphalt sales may have been included at that time, but would research the matter and supply a written answer along with some comparisons on FIG pricing policy from other departments.
PAC chair Andrea Clausen said that once they had formed a report it would be made public.

Source:

http://www.penguin-news.com/index.php/headlines/all-headlines/19-community/76-pac-investigate-3-5-million-profit-at-falklands-government-quarry

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