3 Oct 2008

Northern Marianas business leader questions high value placed on power company

3:36 pm on 3 October 2008

The Commerce Commission in the Northern Mariana Islands says a true valuation should have been done on the Commonwealth Utilities Corporation's sale price.

The Legislature enacted a measure on Wednesday requiring the Commonwealth Utilities Corporation to sell its power system for $250 million US dollars.

Jim Arenovski, the president of CNMI's Commerce Commission, says that the CUC is in debt and its infrastructure needs an urgent upgrade that will be a major cost for any buyer.

He says there's about a year's time left to get the CUC privatised, but potential buyers may now have been frightened away.

"We're a little bit concerned that first that there's not a true valuation on the CUC. We don't believe the CUC is valued at 250 million dollars and we're concerned that that number may not have been...well was kind of pulled out of the air so to say. And the CUC is in bad shape. And to put a valuation on that really may well have deterred some investors from taking a long hard look at it."

Jim Arenovski, president of the CNMI Commerce Commission.