first_imgBerbice River Bridge tolls…commits to dialog with companyGovernment will continue to engage the Berbice Bridge Company Incorporated (BBCI) to find, for the problems besetting its operation, alternatives other than an increase in tolls.Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson made this disclosure on Monday, on the sidelines of the National Toshaos Council’s conference. “Government’s position remains the same…we do think the proposed cost by the Berbice Bridge [Company] is way in excess, and will be burdensome to the citizens of Berbice,” he noted.Minister Patterson said Government is not contemplating toll increases for the BBCI now or in the future; nor is there any consideration of bailouts or subsidies for the bridge company.Patterson is optimistic that the two sides can engage in dialogue and come up with appropriate solutions to the BBCI problems.More than a decade after a public/private partnership (PPP) agreement had allowed construction of the Berbice River Bridge, the bridge company is now facing bankruptcy following Government’s decision to drop the toll, and its subsequent refusal to allow for an increase as per the initial agreement when the company was formed.This is according to BBCI Chairman Dr Surendra Persaud during a press conference last week. Persaud is also Chairman of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), which holds significant shares in the BBCI.According to Dr Persaud, BBCI officials have had several engagements with Minister Patterson. Following one such engagement, Patterson had informed the BBCI that a maintenance proposal would be taken to Cabinet.Dr Persaud has said that BBCI officials were subsequently informed that toll increases were not approved. In fact, the company had applied for a toll adjustment on three occasions — twice in 2015 and once in 2016 — to no avail. It has since made another such application, dated July 9, 2018. In that application, the company has requested that the toll increases take effect by August 1.But following the press conference, the Public Infrastructure Ministry issued a statement in which it said Government was not contemplating any fare hikes.SharesMeanwhile, based on the announcement made by the company with regard to the proposed increases in tolls, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo told a media conference on Wednesday last that he was against the increases, but, moreso, he would encourage Government to buy more equity in the company.Jagdeo reasoned that Berbicians could not afford the steep increases that the company has proposed at this time. He said this was mainly so because the company is contractually obligated to maintain the Bridge. Instead, he is recommending that Government buy out other shareholders, so the Bridge becomes publicly owned.“Secondly, subsidise the increase that should take place in the toll, so they give an injection into the company so the rate remains flat,” Jagdeo has said.This formula, according to Jagdeo, would entail taking over the debt of the Bridge and securing greater equity in return.Jagdeo reminded that there was a financial model in place under the past Government, but he noted that he was unsure what had become of that under the coalition Government. He strongly believes that the financial model may have been interfered with, and this was something that had to be explained.The company is seeking increases in tolls as per the adjustment formula set out by the agreement between the BBCI and the Government of Guyana. It is understood that this tolling requirement was not applicable until 2014, after which the company made its first request just prior to the former Government leaving office. According to the toll policy, the increase is calculated based on “the level of traffic on and under the bridge for the two previous financial years.”According to the policy, “it takes consideration of the toll levels at the start of operations, any provisional toll level applied during the year, and the toll level at start of operations (is) adjusted for inflation.”The policy goes on to note that the toll level is adjusted by the use of the consumer price index of the most recent period and two years prior to that. The second part of the formula, it added, computes a provisional toll level to be used until near the end of the financial year.The ownership structure of BBCI is made up of ordinary share capital of $500 million owned by private investors, and preference shares of $950 million owned by NIS. The Bridge has a wide cross-section of investors, including various pension schemes, insurance schemes, local banks, as well as private companies and NIS.last_img read more

first_imgAll-in-1 triple-play  bundle subscribers now represent over half of Dutch cable operator Ziggo’s base after a successful fourth quarter, according to the company’s year-end results.Ziggo’s All-in-1 bundle customer base increased by 24,000 in the quarter, taking penetration to 50.3% of its customer base.Ziggo’s internet customer base grew by 21,000 in the quarter, or 1.2%.Ziggo posted revenues of EUR383.2 million for the quarter, up 1.4%. Adjusted EBITDA was up 2.7% to EUR218.2 million. The company’s digital pay TV revenues and ARPU increased despite a decline in subscriber numbers. Ziggo lost 27,000 digital TV customers in the quarter. Telephony revenues meanwhile declined by 9% year-on-year.“Following our assessment of the increasingly competitive environment since Q2 2012, and considering the continuation of this trend in Q4, we have decided to step up our marketing and sales initiatives in 2013. In addition, we will speed up our product development initiatives by pulling forward some investments in product innovation that were originally planned to be made after 2013,” said CEO Bernard Dijkhuizen.last_img read more

first_imgUS studios Lionsgate Entertainment and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer have taken equity stakes in ad-supported VOD service Tubi TV.The agreement means both studios will now supply movies to the adRise-owned service, which is currently only available in the US but soon hits Canada through a recent deal with Blue Ant Media.Feature films confirmed include Midnight Cowboy, Crash, Rain Man, The Hurt Locker, Pink Panther, Fargo and American Psycho.They will join Tubi TV’s 40,000-strong library of films and television shows, which have been acquired from more than 200 distributors.Cota Capital is also becoming an investor, and Fox Television Entertainment Group chairman Sandy Grushow is joining Tubi TV’s board of directors.Tubi TV’s other investors include Foundation Capital, Bobby Yazdani, Mark Amin, and Noosheen and Zod Nazem.For Lionsgate, the move is its latest venture into the VOD space, coming after it last year agreed to launch an own-brand SVOD player, Lionsgate Entertainment World, with China’s Alibaba.“This agreement reflects our ongoing commitment to license our content across an expanding array of ad-supported digital platforms and serve next generation audiences around the world,” said Lionsgate president, worldwide television and digital distribution Jim Packer.MGM for the most part to this point has settled for selling its content to VOD platforms, recently licensing rights to the entire James Bond movie library to China’s Tencent.“MGM’s investment and license agreements enable the studio to expand into OTT services, allowing consumers to find MGM films and series on multiple platforms,” said John Bryan, the studio’s president, domestic television distribution.Following announcement of the new equity parters, Tubi TV’s CEO, Farhad Massoudi, vowed the platform would “always be free”, adding: “Tubi TV’s mission is to make premium content accessible to everyone, everywhere, without having to pay more.”The company released statistics claiming viewership numbers had increased 400% in the past year.last_img read more