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BELIZE HOLDINGS INC. REPORTS HALF-YEAR EARNINGS INCREASE OF 20 PERCENT; BANKING AND FINANCIAL SERVICES POST STRONG PERFORMANCE

 NEW YORK, Dec. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Belize Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: BZHKF), a holding company with banking and financial services operations in Belize, as well as investments in telecommunications and other Belizean industries, reported that consolidated net income for the half-year ended Oct. 31, 1993 increased 20 percent to $3.6 million from $3.0 million in the same period a year ago. Net income per share for the half-year was $0.72 compared with $0.60 for the same period last year, an increase of 20 percent.
 A cash dividend of $0.15 per ordinary share was paid on Sept. 3, 1993. A second cash dividend of $0.15 will be paid on March 4, 1994 to shareholders of record on Feb. 11, 1994, resulting in a full year dividend of $0.30, an increase of 20 percent over the previous year's dividends of $0.25.
 Shareholders' equity increased to $22.9 million at Oct. 31, 1993 from $20.0 million at April 30, 1993, representing a ratio to total assets of 17.3 percent, up from 15.7 percent at April 30, 1993.
 The company said that the results reflect further strong performance in banking and financial services. Income from associated companies increased marginally on the previous year and a small seasonal loss was incurred by the company's hotel operations. Increased borrowings during the period resulted in higher interest charges.
 Commenting on the results, Michael A. Ashcroft, chairman of the board, said "The continued expansion of our broadly based business interests in Belize was all the more impressive against a background of mixed trading conditions. Our strategy to seek further investment opportunities in the region is being actively pursued."
 Banking and Financial Services
 Income from banking and financial services increased 30 percent in the half year compared to the same period last year. The Belize Bank Limited's continued lending growth is reflected in a 12 percent increase in interest income compared to the same period last year. This lending growth was supported by a higher level of intercompany funding to the bank (funded by an increase in related party borrowing by the company), which replaced a planned reduction in public sector certificates of deposit in the commercial banking system. A general tightening of liquidity in the commercial banking sector has resulted in a recent increase in interest rates which will help to offset an anticipated slowdown in lending growth in the second half of the year.
 Fees earned from other financial services, including offshore company and trust formation and related accounting and secretarial services, continue to increase as new business is added to recurring services. Additional professional staff have recently been recruited to support further growth in this sector.
 Associated Companies
 Equity in the net income of the company's 25 percent equity in Belize Telecommunications Limited (`BTL') contributed $1.3 million. For the six months to September 1993, BTI's gross revenues grew by 10.8 percent and operating profit by 8.5 percent, compared to the same period last year, reflecting increased calls and a continuing extension of the telephone network. BTL's recently installed cellular network will provide a further revenue source for the company over the coming months. A higher tax charge for the period reduced growth at the net income level to 3.6 percent.
 The company's other investments, which include a 20 percent equity in Belize Electricity Limited, as well as other minority investments in Belize businesses including citrus processing, television broadcasting and company and ship registration, performed to the company's expectations.
 Belize Holdings Inc. was established in 1987 and is the largest public company in Belize. It is the first Belizean company to list its shares on an international stock market and the company prepares its financial statements in U.S. dollars in accordance with U.S. GAAP.
 BELIZE HOLDINGS INC.
 Financial Highlights
 (U.S. dollars in thousands, except per share data)
 Percent
 Six months ended Oct. 31 1993 1992 change
 Banking and financial services:
 Income before income taxes (A) $ 3,043 $ 1,896 +60
 Other operations:
 Loss before income taxes (316) -- --
 Equity in net income of
 associated companies 1,504 1,468 + 2
 Other interest expense - net (426) (30) --
 Total company:
 Income before income taxes 3,805 3,334 +14
 Net income 3,577 2,984 +20
 Per ordinary share
 Net income 0.72 0.60 +20
 Cash dividends declared 0.15 0.11 +36
 Weighted average number of ordinary
 shares for the period (B) 4,941,016 4,941,016
 Notes:
 (A) Intercompany debt is a working capital funding source for the banking and financial services operations of the company and, for the purpose of discussion, the table below shows income before income taxes after charging intercompany interest at a consistent nominal rate equivalent to the approximate average cost of twelve month certificates of deposit.
 Percent
 Six months ended Oct. 31 1993 1992 change
 Income before income taxes after
 charging intercompany interest $ 2,236 $ 1,724 +30
 Elimination of intercompany interest 807 172 --
 Total 3,043 1,896 +60
 (B) Including A ordinary shares
 BELIZE HOLDINGS INC.
 Consolidated Income Statement
 (U.S. dollars in thousands, except per share data)
 Six Months Ended Oct. 31, 1993 1992
 Banking and financial services
 Interest income:
 Interest and fees on loans $6,222 $5,687
 Interest on deposits with banks 256 127
 Interest on Government of Belize securities 28 250
 Interest on other securities 265 --
 Total interest income 6,771 6,064
 Interest expense:
 Interest on deposits 2,475 2,514
 Interest on long-term debt 28 31
 Total interest expense 2,503 2,545
 Net interest income 4,268 3,519
 Recoveries/(Provision) for loan losses 268 (312)
 Net interest income after provision for
 loan losses 4,536 3,207
 Non interest income 1,326 1,337
 Non interest expenses:
 Salaries and benefits 1,145 1,077
 Premises and equipment 559 612
 Other non interest expenses 1,115 959
 Total non interest expenses 2,819 2,648
 Income before income taxes -
 banking and financial services 3,043 1,896
 Other operations
 Revenue 1,327 --
 Operating costs (1,538) --
 Interest expense (105) --
 Loss before income taxes - other operations (316) --
 Equity in net income of associated companies 1,504 1,468
 Other interest income 22 161
 Other interest expense 448 191
 Total company
 Income before income taxes 3,805 3,334
 Income tax expense 228 350
 Net income $3,577 $2,984
 Net income per ordinary share $ 0.72 $ 0.60
 -0- 12/14/93
 /CONTACT: Tom Franco of Broadgate Consultants, Inc., 212-229-2222/
 (BZHKF)


CO: Belize Holdings, Inc. ST: New York IN: FIN SU:

TM -- NY004 -- 3485 12/14/93 08:39 EST
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