Last week the Bahamian Supreme Court appointed KRyS Global, Bahamas and AlixPartners Services UK advisors as Joint Provisional Liquidators over Baha Mar Ltd, Baha Mar Land Holdings Ltd, Baha Mar Properties Ltd, BMP Three Ltd, BMP Golf Ltd, Cable Beach Resorts Ltd, Baha Mar Enterprises Ltd, together Bahar Mar PL. The liquidator will have limited authority. The court ruling also scheduled a “wind up” petition for two months hence, giving developers time to arrange alternate financing to complete the multi-billion dollar project which is 97% complete according to a statement by the company.
“We are pleased that, in making its ruling, The Bahamian Supreme Court has made it quite clear that the present intention is to not have Baha Mar liquidated or its management replaced. In fact, the judge specifically wants to make sure that Baha Mar’s assets are preserved—which is a priority we all share,” the company said.
The resort development, which originally planned to open in December of last year was billed as the largest single phase construction project in the Western Hemisphere and includes casinos and over 2,000 hotel rooms, along with a host of other leisure and entertainment facilities. The company filed for bankruptcy in U.S. court in June, citing construction delays by China state-owned contractor China Construction America (CCA) and the inability to get additional funding from China state-owned financier Export Import Bank of China (EXIM).
CCA stopped work on the resort claiming they had not been paid and are owed some $72 million. EXIM has already provided about $2.5 billion in funding but refuses to provide an additional $400 million needed to open the doors, according to Baha Mar.
The Prime Minister of the country sought to take over control of the project rather than let the company restructure under U.S. bankruptcy law, citing the gravity of the development on the Bahamas’ economy and number of jobs at stake. At the end of August Standard and Poor’s downgraded the Bahamas’ sovereign credit rating as a result of the resorts struggles.
Luxury hotelier Rosewood is seeking to cancel its contracts with Baha Mar. Baha Mar denies there is cause. Rosewood accounts for 200 of the planned 2,200 rooms to open with the resort. Baha Mar claims they would suffer a loss of “key money” in their restructuring and that a pull out by Rosewood would cost some $8 million. All actions are under a “stay” order that comes into effect with Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, meaning Rosewood may not simply cancel agreements without the court’s approval.
Baha Mar argued that, “They (Rosewood) are an integral part of what Baha Mar will be – a 3.3 million square foot world-class resort complex consisting of many first-class amenities, four premier hotels, a convention centre, golf course, spa and racquet club.
The Bahamas Supreme Court scheduled a date of November 2, 2015 to hear the government’s winding down petition at which point the power of the liquidators will be fully known. Still under contention however is Baha Mar’s claim that a U.S. court is the proper venue for their bankruptcy reorganization.