Last updated: 05:17 PM ET, Mon November 09 2015

Is A Baha Mar Takeover In The Works?

Hotel & Resort | Brian Major | November 09, 2015

Is A Baha Mar Takeover In The Works?

Photo courtesy of Baha Mar

A Bahamas media report says the Export-Import Bank of China (EXIM) and China State Construction Engineering Corporation Ltd. (CSEC) have reached an agreement with Island Capital Group LLC, a private real estate merchant bank led by investor Andrew Farkas, and hotel magnate Sol Kerzner, under which the pair would reorganize, finance, open and operate the long-stalled $3.5 billion Baha Mar resort.

According to a Bahamas Tribune report, Island Capital Group officials are meeting in Beijing with the state-owned entities to finalize details of an agreement. Last month the Bahamas Supreme Court approved a request from EXIM, Baha Mar’s primary financier, to appoint Deloitte and Touche as the project’s receiver.

The move culminated a long, frustrating period during which the resort remained uncompleted and unopened, the developer, financier, the project’s chief contractor and the Bahamas government bickered publicly and more than 2,000 employees were ultimately laid off.

In addition, one of the mega-resort’s hotel partners, Rosewood Hotels, sought to exit its agreement with developer Baha Mar Ltd. as the property remained unopened and indicated it will sue the resort developer amidst mounting losses.

Monday’s developments perhaps shed light on recent assertions from sources close to Perry Christie, the Bahamas’ prime minister, who told TravelPulse late last month that “there is something very positive on the horizon” and a solution to the impasse was forthcoming. Late last week Christie said “There are lots of people who want to help us fix” Baha Mar.

Kerzner is a virtual Bahamas icon, having purchased Atlantis, Paradise Island in 1994 and made it one of the world’s largest and most successful warm-weather resorts. Kerzner, who also owned the One & Only luxury resort chain, sold the Atlantis resort to Brookfield in 2012.

The Tribune report acknowledges the reported agreement does not account for the resort’s present developer, Baha Mar Ltd., led by Sarkis Izmirlian, who largely conceived the Baha Mar project.

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