BIU wades into Ascendant sale issue

A union leader has warned the owner of power firm Belco not sell the company to Canadian investors.

Chris Furbert, president of the Bermuda Industrial Union, highlighted rumours heard “through the grapevine” that Sean Durfy, the Canadian chief executive of Belco’s parent, Ascendant Group, may be “behind the scenes trying to make sure that Belco is sold to a Canadian company”.

Mr Durfy’s role with Ascendant in October came under fire from the Electricity Supply Trade Union, which took industrial action over four Bermudian staff removed from Belco.

The ESTU demands included the firing of Mr Durfy, but he remained at the helm of Ascendant, although Dennis Pimentel, a Bermudian, was appointed as Belco president.

“There are some questions that Government needs to raise in relation to this sale to make sure Mr Durfy is not paddling his own canoe,” Mr Furbert said yesterday at a press conference.

He added the Government should block the sale of Belco to a foreign company and make sure it remained “Bermuda owned”.

Ascendant announced in January that it was examining options that included a possible sale of the company.

The company has not identified any prospective buyers, although possibilities reported this month in The Royal Gazette included the Canadian utilities group Fortis.

Mr Furbert highlighted Aecon, a Canadian construction company, which was granted a 30-year concession for the airport terminal in 2017.

He said: “It seems like Canada is the place to go.”

Walter Roban, the Minister of Home Affairs, has said the Regulatory Authority, was to be told that any potential new owners would be required to stick to the island’s Integrated Resource Plan for electricity supply.