The Federal Government announced this afternoon that Ridley Terminals in Prince Rupert is officially up for sale.
Minister of State for Finance Ted Menzies and Minister of State for Transport Steven Fletcher announced the government’s intention to sell the coal shipping terminal to a private sector company during a press conference at the Prince Rupert Hotel.
“Under the previous Liberal government, Ridley Terminals was undervalued and the sale was to proceed with no guarantee of open access for the market… Ridley Terminals now has real value. RTI made more in operating revenue than the previous government was going to sell it for. It’s a tremendous turnaround,” said Minister Menzies, noting that RTI made $34 million last year.
“Our government will protect the interest of the users by ensuring that Ridley Terminals continues to operate in an open access manner. That is non-negotiable, and if no such bid is received then RTI will not necessarily be sold.”
Details of the sale, including reviewing the bids and ensuring all criteria are met, will be handled by the Canada Development Investment Corporation (CDIC). At the moment not much is known about the sale, but the Ministers promised that controlling interest in the company would not be sold to any state-owned companies outside of Canada.
Minister Fletcher noted that RTI is the last major terminal in Canada operated by the government, and that is one of the considerations the government looked at when making the decision.
“There are those who say the government should not be in the coal business, and that it should be private interests that are taking the risks and incurring any gains or losses,” he said.
“We will proceed only if the sale nets fair value for taxpayers… It is a win-win. Not only will it provide value for taxpayers, it will provide benefit to Prince Rupert Rupert to help it realize its full potential as a gateway to the Asia-Pacific.”
Acting RTI board chair Byng Giraud said the government had the board’s full support for the sale. However North Coast MLA Gary Coons, who was at the announcement, said he was less than impressed with the announcement.
“It is a bit of a shocking, surprising announcement. RTI has been a key part of our community for many years and is making money hand over foot, so on one hand it seems a bit weird to sell an asset that is making money,” he said.
“You would think that if something was making profit you would keep it under your wing… I guess the devil is in the details, and all we have now is a 10 minutes press conference.”