Friday, October 28, 2011

"Hamburger".... HELP

I'm the first guy who wants to see it done here but "Holy Cow" that's $2,500,000.00 a year it's costing us Islanders (and I suspect even more) and when you're competing against the big guys you really need a "niche" value added product which was what this plant originally started out to try and achieve but OMG they’re now making "hamburger"... Maple Leaf and many other companies like them couldn't make it work here and I'm afraid there's not a snowball's chance in hell that anyone could ever make money at this small of a scale in the meat processing business... the world didn't end when the PEI pork plant was shut down and the world won't end here if this plant suffers the same fate... but if Government continues on trying to be a “business enterprise” then we may as well throw this money out the window as there might be a better chance of more Islanders getting some of it back as it blows in the wind... I know this doesn’t sound good but there really must be better ways for Government to “support” jobs than having $25,000,000.00 tied up in the plant and equipment (now not worth anything) and throwing taxpayer's money away month after month...

Province continues aid to struggling beef plant
CBC News Oct 28, 2011

P.E.I.'s agriculture minister says his government is still committed to keeping the Atlantic Beef Products plant financially afloat.

George Webster said the plant was a doing a little better a few months ago, but is now on a downward slide again.

Management at the facility admit the plant is losing an average of about $200,000 a month. That has fueled speculation about its future.

"There is losses there. There have been losses there. And we're trying to minimize those losses and go forward," said Webster.

"The premier did say … we are going to maintain and sustain the beef plant. You know, we're going forward with it and we've made that commitment. We've trimmed a lot of things and we have a hamburger line in there now and we're trying to find ways for that plant to sustain itself."

But Webster said government isn't planning to walk away and he's hopeful the situation will turn around as new markets are developed

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"attack the man"... really!!!!

When you think about it 100 people aren't really a crowd...  so I'm thinking this story may be news for a few days which is too bad...  the media try to make it a story and unfortunately some of those who really need help think that this "media fix" is really going to help them...  it all sounds great to "attack the man" but really....

Yes we need better financial management by our Governments but that really comes with less demands on Government from the public and that seems unlikely given everyone wants a new school, a new hospital, free drugs,... Governments can't fix everything so we have to stop “asking” for everything... increasing taxes on big corporations sounds great but will do very little to solve this crowd’s problems... giving corporations a tax break for new investments and product development might help stimulate the economy more but developing programs for investing and educating our youth will do a lot more to resolve problems going forward... I feel bad for those who are having it tough and I think the best way I can help is by investing in my Community, which I'll continue to do God willing...

Occupy Charlottetown attracts more than 100

The global Occupy movement came to Prince Edward Island Saturday, and attracted about 125 people to a protest outside Province House in Charlottetown.

The Saturday demonstration was part of a worldwide call to denounce corporate greed and financial mismanagement. Demonstrations were held in more than 80 countries, including at least 15 cities in Canada.

Students, labour leaders, politicians and health care advocates addressed the crowd in Charlottetown. Liberal MLA Richard Brown and NDP Leader James Rodd were both present.

There was also an open mic portion of the event where demonstrators were invited to take the stage and share their thoughts with the crowd. Organizers are planning another demonstration for this coming Saturday.

The Occupy movement started in New York City in September, with protestors setting up in a park near Wall Street. Protests have since spread across the U.S. Saturday was the movement's first co-ordinated international event.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Richard Is Fighting Back...

Here's what Richard had to say at the Halifax Club lunch yesterday, excerpts from

He accused management at Homburg Invest of mis-using the creditor protection process to protect their jobs.

“This company had lots of liquidity. It’s an abuse of the system,” said the founder of the troubled property company at a Halifax Club lunch.

“The company is not a bankrupt,” said Homburg.

“(It) is more to protect management who did not like the largest shareholder (Homburg) to take over the company and privatize it.”

Homburg was particularly critical of the annual meeting, which was held the same day as the CCAA move.

He said he had given his power of attorney to “trusted people” to vote his 46% shareholding – only to find out later that they had assigned it to “someone else.”

“Business can be war,” said the 62-year-old international financier who was careful not to name any of his adversaries, citing legal issues

After his resignation, Homburg offered $3.25 a share to take the company private. When the board turned thumbs down, he threatened a hostile bid, which he later abandoned.

Homburg Invest responded by cancelling management contracts held privately by Homburg – which has responded with a $27-million lawsuit.

Defending his privatization bid, Homburg said the gathering economic crisis and the difficulty raising money, particularly in Europe, mean Homburg Invest did not have a future as a public company.

He said he took himself out of management of Homburg Invest because he was starting a similar business and wanted to avoid conflicts. He also wanted to start succession planning.

The regulator ordered that Homburg be removed from any positions of influence, due to tax assessment issues with the Dutch government.

Yesterday, Homburg said the regulator had a problem with Homburg Invest, citing a multiple voting share set-up as one issue. Its A and B shares traded on the TSX before the CCAA-related suspension.

Homburg said the regulatory issue occurred after he divulged plans to privatize the company to top Homburg executives – nothing he has other companies which have Dutch trading licenses and there is no issue with them.

“It’s not a personal matter (with the regulator). As we said it was a company we wanted to privatize. That was a well-known plan and no one was surprised about that,” said Homburg in an interview afterwards.”

“It’s ended up going from friendly to hostile. In a hostile fight, dirt gets thrown out, similar to a political fight. It doesn’t have anything to do with whether it’s true or untrue.”

“In politics, 90% of what the opposition says is slander and not true. Well, in business it might be the same.”

Homburg, who parlayed a collection of Dartmouth rooming houses he acquired in the 1970s into a $3.5 billion real estate empire on two continents, wouldn’t comment if his hand-picked CEO and Chairman of Homburg Invest were behind the moves by the regulator.

“I want to take the high road. There’s no sense in pointing fingers and blaming people. If people fight dirty against you it doesn’t mean you have to fight dirty back. In some cases deeds are better than words,” he said.

“Let them judge later. Life is a long road.”

Then he said: “I think the parties should sit around the table and try to see if they can resolve their differences. But I won’t be part of that because I am not part of the company.”

Homburg was relaxed in a pair of slightly faded jeans and a dark sports jacket and no tie.

Looking a bit thinner than usual, he nonetheless came across with his usual ebullience.

“You see me. I am not worried. I am not upset. I feel great and I like the challenges like gives me every day,” he said.

“It’s all part of a job. No different than a politician who has a crisis in his cabinet, country or province.”

“Professionals deal with it in a pragmatic way. To me this is just in a day’s business.”

“You move on. What good does it to do hang out dirty laundry. It doesn’t benefit anybody.”

Homburg declined to reveal his net worth now Homburg Invest has become a penny stock, having once traded above $70 a share.

“You make, you lose,” he offered. He blamed the swirling controversy around him on global economic problems.

He has other privately held companies in real estate operating in 20 different countries, and own a diverse group of businesses in the Maritimes – including insurance firms, a rural Ford car dealership and hotels, plus non-real estate entities in the U.S.

“Homburg Capital still issues real estate security in Germany and the Netherlands, while we speak,” he said.

“We will sell because maybe Europeans can put things into clarity. Homburg Invest is a fund of funds.

“We did 200 funds, 200 partnerships. This is not the only partnership. There’s funds in Germany, the Netherlands, the Baltic states, and some are listed, some are not listed. Not one of those is in trouble.”

He said one of his separate funds sold property in Calgary to a Canadian pension fund, and the rate of return “was exceptional.”

He said his private air rental company is still going strong, particularly since a competitor in the Netherlands was grounded.

Homburg said he has no bad feelings about the Homburg Canada REIT changing its name to CanMarc REIT, saying it was always an option.

Homburg was the inaugural chairman of the REIT, and controls 16.4% of the units via his 46% control of Homburg Invest. Homburg Canada has about 5% of the REIT.

Homburg disputes need for creditor protection
But monitor raises concerns about company founder’s control of assets
By JOHN DeMONT Business Reporter
The Chronicle Herald
Fri, Oct 7 -

Richard Homburg lashed out Thursday at the management of Homburg Invest Inc., accusing it of abusing the powers of the Companies’ Creditors Arrangements Act in seeking protection from creditors for the company he founded.

The timing of the rare public appearance by the high-flying Dutch-born businessman was likely no coincidence.

His remarks at the Halifax Club came on the heels of a report by Deloitte & Touche Inc. that raised concerns that Homburg’s extensive control over Homburg Invest’s assets could make it hard to restructure the debt-plagued real estate investment company, which last month sought protection from creditors.

Homburg told the crowd that Homburg Invest had plenty of liquidity and didn’t need to go to court to keep creditors at bay.

"This was more for people (Homburg Invest management) to protect their own jobs," he said. "And for people who wanted to keep the company public."

Homburg owns 72.5 per cent of the voting shares in the company and has made two unsuccessful bids to privatize it.

Deloitte & Touche has a different appraisal of Homburg Invest’s condition. The company has long-term debt of $2 billion, according to the court-appointed monitor’s calculations, and its equity, which stood at $611 million at the end of 2008, was a mere $57 million as of June 30.

Furthermore, Deloitte & Touche reported, Homburg controls most of Homburg Invest’s roughly $1.5 billion in real estate assets through his company Homburg Management. That entity acts as the general partner in the many limited partnerships that hold most of Homburg Invest’s real estate assets.

Though Homburg Management is not entitled to any profits, it has full authority over what is done with those assets.

Last month, Homburg announced that he had placed his control block and voting rights in Homburg Invest in the hands of a pair of independent Dutch trustees.

But Deloitte & Touche has reservations about Homburg’s influence.

"The control exercised by the general partner and its impact on (Homburg Invest Inc.’s) restructuring process raises some concerns and is currently being analyzed by the monitor to evaluate its impact on HII and the monitor’s ability to conduct an efficient restructuring process," Deloitte & Touche said in its court filings.

The monitor also noted that Homburg Management "has been generally unresponsive to HII’s requests for the use and benefit of the partnerships."

That lack of communication may be understandable. Homburg said Thursday that he made a mistake by bringing in the wrong managers when it came time for him to step down as chairman of Homburg Invest last spring.

Since then, the board of Homburg Invest has twice rejected his takeover bids.

Homburg also owns Homburg Canada Inc., which is suing Homburg Invest for $27 million in damages over the cancellation this summer of a lucrative property and asset management agreement between the two companies.

Please Look After These Small Contractors... "NOW"

This is not a great situation but it shouldn't be another Minigoo Fisheries where everyone gets stuck and they didn't get a cent because there was no recourse on Indian owned land and there was no conscious on the part of the Minigoo directors... so the little contractors got screwed...
In this case there should be a bunch of backstops to protect these hard working sub-contractors...

The lender (in this case the Province) surely would not have disbursed all of their loans on this building until they had evidence in the form of a statutory declarations stating that all contractors were paid up to date... the lender would have had a project monitor reviewing the loan advances to see that the project was on budget and the contractors were paid... in addition to that I understand Homburg had their own independent Project Management Company on site who would of or should have been monitoring the progress advances and insuring things didn't get out of hand...

I also understand the contractors were working for Dyne Holdings and being paid by Dyne Holdings... as Dyne is owned by Homburg Canada REIT a sound financial company then the "boys" at this REIT should come clean and immediately Pony-up some money to all these contractors who pushed hard to see the project finished... and they need to do it now... the REIT's management group seem more interested in changing their name to "Canmarc" then they have in getting out front and helping the small contractors get this thing sorted out...

Bottom line here is these contractors carried out the work in good faith with the understanding the project was on sound financial footing as our Province as the lender was there to monitor things... these small contractors don't have the time to wait for the accountants, lawyers and courts to settle this mess out... they need action "NOW" and that should come from Canmarc Real Estate Investment Trust who I understand is ultimately responsible for the hotel debt... Canmarc and Dyne shouldn’t be out there trying to “hide” behind some legal “mumbo jumbo” while the little guy sits out in the wind... I’m damn sure if Richard Homburg was still at the wheel he’d be doing everything to look after the little guy first... I'll have more on this later....

Charlottetown hotel contractor fears bankruptcy
CBC News Posted: Oct 7, 2011 1

P.E.I. electrical contractor is worried the financial troubles of Homburg Invest will take down his company too.

Aubrey MacLeod says his company will go bankrupt if he is not paid. CBCHomburg Invest, an international real estate company, filed for creditor protection on Sep. 9. Aubrey MacLeod, owner of DBA Solar Electric told CBC News Thursday Homburg Invest owes his company hundreds of thousands of dollars for work it did on the Holman Grand Hotel in downtown Charlottetown.

MacLeod was contracted for all electrical work on Charlottetown's new 10-storey Holman Grand Hotel, the largest contract for his company ever.

"It was always my biggest fear when we got in business, that some big company or corporation would do this exact thing," said MacLeod.

MacLeod is not the only contractor worried about collecting a big debt from Homburg Invest. Seven other Holman Grand Hotel contractors have filed lien claims against Homburg Invest and an affiliated company, Dyne Holdings, for money owed.

MacLeod filed a lien for $458,000.

"We want to get paid. We want to get the money that's owed to us," he said.

Dyne Holdings paid MacLeod's company throughout the hotel project, on time and in full, until shortly after Homburg Invest filed for creditor protection. He now finds himself on a long list of creditors seeking payment.

The province provided a loan of $16.3 million for the building of the Holman Grand Hotel. CBCThe creditors on P.E.I. are hoping the provincial government will step in. In 2008, the province loaned Dyne Holdings $16.3 million to build the hotel.

"Staff have been asked to write Dyne, Homburg, and the monitor Deloitte and Touche expressing our concern over the situation," Ron Ryder, communications officer for the Department of Innovation told CBC News in an email.

"The provincial government expects them to pay suppliers as their bills come due."

"To us it's a private matter. We will deal with our suppliers," said a representative of Dyne Holdings.

For MacLeod's company the issue is a matter of survival.

"Our lines of credit and stuff are maxed out, and we won't be able to continue doing our day-to-day business without borrowing more money," he said.

If more payments don't come through, he said, DBA Solar Electric will go bankrupt.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Steven Myers Should Apologize... "simple as that"

It didn't take long for the Tories to find another Jim Bagnall...

P.E.I. premier takes issue with ‘hate’ comment from Conservative victor
Tue, Oct 4, 2011, by Canadian Press CHARLOTTETOWN

Premier Robert Ghiz expressed shock Tuesday over comments made by a newly elected Conservative who said he won because the people in his district “hate” the province’s leader.

Ghiz said he’s afraid comments like that could set the tone for how politics will be played on the Island in the days and weeks ahead.

“If you want me to be brutally honest with you, I have never seen words like ‘disgrace’ and ‘hate’ used so freely,” he said.

“We’re Islanders. We respect one another. I respect the role of the opposition. I really hope that’s not the approach they are going to take. If they do, there is nothing I can do about it but it would be unfortunate.”

Ghiz said he was equally surprised when Tory Leader Olive Crane called him a disgrace during a televised leaders’ debate.

“I’ve never heard that language used, the same as I’ve never really heard of calling the leader of another political party a disgrace,” he said.

Steven Myers made the hate comment after winning in District 2, Georgetown-St. Peters.

“My win had more to do with the premier,” he said Monday night. “I was hearing at the door that people hate Robert Ghiz, and I believed them and they showed that tonight.”

Contacted Tuesday, Myers said he was just repeating what he was hearing at the doors.

“I’m not going to apologize for it,” said Myers. “It’s the truth. If his feelings are hurt over that, I guess he’ll have to live with it.”

Ghiz said if any of his members used language like that, he’d ask them to apologize.

He said he campaigned throughout eastern P.E.I. and always received a warm welcome from voters.

“A lot of the shenanigans that were going on during the election, I would never allow them to take place under my leadership,” he said.

The next big task for Ghiz will be selecting a cabinet and getting ready for the fall session of the legislature. The house needs to be called back within 30 days after declaration day to elect a Speaker.

Declaration day, or the day the election results are declared official, is Oct. 19.

Ghiz said he’ll announce his cabinet within two weeks. He lost two members of his inner circle Monday — Innovation Minister Allan Campbell and Fisheries Minister Neil LeClair.