Baha Mar mega resort developer, Baha Mar Ltd, run by Sarkis Izmirlian, announced yesterday that a Chapter 11 Plan of Reorganization has been filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.
The Plan of Reorganization that follows the June 29 application for protection would allow the developer to repay its creditors while completing construction on the $3.5 billion mega resort. The move by Baha Mar Ltd comes after a Bahamian judge declined to recognize the U.S. bankruptcy filing in July. Both actions preceded an August letter to staff written by Sarkis Izmirlian, Baha Mar Ltd’s chief executive, stating that by seeking to have the project liquidated, the Bahamian government was pursuing a “perilous path.” The Bahamian government opposes the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing and has asked the Bahamian Supreme Court to appoint liquidators for Baha Mar. Calling the project’s completion a matter of national importance; Prime Minister Perry Christie has said completion would be quicker through a liquidation process in the Bahamas.
Work was halted earlier this year on the nearly complete project as the contractor, Bahamas unit of China Construction America (CCA), a subsidiary of state-owned China State Construction Engineering Corp (CSCEC) and Sarkis Izmirlian, the developer, traded blame for missed completion deadlines and pay disputes. China Exim Bank, the export import bank which provided a $2.45 billion loan, the majority of the project’s financing, also opposes the U.S. bankruptcy filing along with the contractor.
Maintaining that the U.S. filing is the best way to complete the project and get Baha Mar opened for business, Baha Mar Ltd. is also pursuing a claim against CSCEC in London’s English High Court, seeking “a variety of financial remedies.” The developer said the plan presents a “viable framework for Baha Mar’s emergence from Chapter 11 and the expeditious resumption and completion of the construction of Baha Mar,” and that, “the plan provides that valid claims of Bahamian creditors and the Government of the Bahamas will be unaffected by the Chapter 11 and, upon implementation of the plan, would be paid in the ordinary course of business.”
According to Baha Mar Ltd. the new jobs that the resort will generate and the associated annual payroll would represent approximately 12% of the Bahamian GDP.