PHILIPSBURG: --- The Government of St. Maarten namely the Council of Ministers is hell-bent on making money from the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIAE) through the World Bank loan they intend to lend PJIAE on an interest rate of 4.45%.
SMN News has been reliably informed that PJIAE managed to secure USD 100M loan from Piper Jaffrey to buy out the consortium of bondholders so the bondholders could then release the USD54M they already received from the insurance company since the passage of hurricane IRMA on September 6th, 2017. However, it is understood that the Prime Minister of St. Maarten Leona Romeo Marlin instructed Management of PJIAE to not go along with the new lenders but to wait on them to finalize the funding they intend to get from the World Bank.
SMN News further learned that the Dutch Government already reached out to the Bondholders and requested a meeting since they have a vested interest in PJIAE. According to information provided to SMN News the Dutch Government, the Government of St. Maarten, Management of PJIAE, and Andre Wright intends to meet with the bondholders sometime soon to see if they could strike a deal with the bondholders that have been holding the Insurance payment in an escrow account.
It should be noted that the bondholders are holding some $54M which could be released the moment they are bought out or a proper settlement and or agreement is reached with them. While PJIAE is expecting another USD81M from the Insurance Company when the arbitration case is finalized by mid-2019. The insurance money it is expected will be used to rebuild the Terminal Building with added features.
The Government of St. Maarten chose to lend PJIAE $50M at an interest rate of 4.45% this money they would be getting from the World Bank that they intend to make a huge profit from even though PJIAE is a government-owned company. Another $50M will be the loan to PJIAE through the European Investment Bank at 4.45% while the Piper Jaffrey loan will be at 5.50%.
The Government of St. Maarten said PJIAE will have a 5-year grace period and the loan will be over a period of 20 years, however, PJIAE will have to pay the interest for the 5-year grace period they are given if they secure the loan from the Shareholder. When the loan agreement is finalized PJIAE will only be receiving $85M since they already get a $15M injection for the day to day operations. Another uncertainty is that PJIAE does not know what measures
It should also be noted that Andre Wright is a former consultant that brought in the current bondholders that will soon meet with the delegation. Wright was a former consultant for PJIAE his contract expired in December 2018 and now that he must renegotiate with the bondholders, the Dutch Government, the Government of St. Maarten and PJIAE then Wright will also be pocketing some more money even though he basically held up the process for more than 18 months since the passing of hurricane IRMA.
The must needed Terms of Reference the Government of St. Maarten is working on is yet to be finalized even though PJIAE already approved a draft.
PJIAE is struggling to meet its monthly payroll while some creditors that have not yet been paid for their services and are contemplating taking PJIAE to court.
A statement obtained from CEO Brian Mingo reads:
PJIAE NV (Princess Juliana International Airport) has been going through a challenging recovery period. The company has moved its operations in December 2018 back into its main terminal with fitted operations. Today it handles the projected 60% market we had back in 2016.
As a matter of fact both months of 2019 recorded values of 63% (January 2019) and 65% (February 2019), which confirms that our projections are in line.
The specialized 3 layered roofs of the main terminal is nearly completed and will be final at the end of April, covering the complete 15,000 square meters of roofing.
The actual restoration of the main terminal has not yet started, the detailed planning and capital funding process is not complete.
If anyone who is privileged to the airport’s project information and discloses amounts, plans or its strategic steps whether correct or even overstated can seriously compromise the progress and all the hard work the organization has done over the last 18 months. PJIAE is in a very fragile situation which many of us do not understand.
Today the project to restore the main terminal will cost the company over US$ 100 million. The required capital funding, for which we now have a very attractive offer for from both the EIB and World Bank is not yet secured, and an airport, we need to perform some more negotiations.
The work-groups that are working out these details are specialists from PJIAE, The St.Maarten Government, the World Bank, and the Dutch Government. Our aim is to conclude the financing and additional funding part within a few weeks. This will also cover our existing commitments and our monthly cash shortfall over the next 24 months.
The completion of the terminal and new business model PJIAE 2020 is in the planning to be completed within the next 24 months. Details about insurance claims, insurance proceeds, funding and costs are all being dealt with. Any events or even comments that do not contribute to the restoration of our airport can be considered as misleading, damaging and even cancellation of existing financiers. What would this mean?
The airport is one of the main engines of our economy, without PJIAE our economy will not recover! As an airport we cannot do it alone we need all stakeholders to support our reconstruction efforts our plans.
The airport needs everyone on board, our employees, the unions, the contractors, the government, the financial institutes, the insurance companies, St.Maarten, and The Hague.
This also includes our media.
We need all hands on deck to ensure we keep moving ahead and get our airport back to its glory status as an aviation icon in the region.