Refinancing Of BC Ferries Announced

Tuesday, March 14, 2000
A financial restructuring package for the British Columbia Ferry Corporation and a plan to sell the three PacifiCats has been announced, company officials said. The refinancing package includes: the removal of BC Ferries' debt of $1.1 billion; a permanent, annual subsidy of 1.25 cents per liter from the motor-fuel tax; a decision to write down the PacifiCats by a total of $240 million and to offer the three fast ferries for sale; and plans for the wind-up of Catamaran Ferries International, BC Ferries' wholly owned subsidiary. The plan is the best solution to provide for economic stability for coastal communities, officials said. The government will introduce legislation this session that will pave the way for the debt removal and the financial restructuring of the corporation. The decision to place the three PacifiCats on the market was made after the corporation carefully assessed concerns of customers, residents along the route, tourism groups and the trucking industry. Officials called the fast-ferry project a "failed experiment," and indicated that the company needs to move on.

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