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Hasty Agreement to $34M Aquaculture Project

US - With few questions about the financing to back a multimillion-dollar aquaculture business venture, a majority of senators on the Senate Economic Development and Agriculture Committee approved legislation authorizing the V.I. Public Finance Authority to loan Crucian Holdings up to $34.3 million.

According to the Virgin Islands Daily News, the bill, which passed on a 3-2 vote, authorizes the PFA to enter into a loan agreement with Crucian Holdings for the purpose of developing an aquaculture production and processing facility on St. Croix.

The term of the loan cannot exceed three years and the $34.3 million would be used to acquire real property and to develop and construct an aquaculture production pond facility for raising shrimp and tilapia and a seafood processing, packaging and trans-shipment plant.

The bill sets the interest rate of the loan at no more than 4.7 percent. The loan would have to be secured by a "first priority mortgage" - in favor of the PFA - of the 150-acre Estate Diamond property Crucian Holdings intends to purchase, according to the bill.