Hong Kong-based global conglomerate, Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Limited (CTFE), announced today that they have signed an agreement to own and operate Baha Mar Resort on New Providence island in the Caribbean country of the Bahamas. The share purchase agreement will allow CTFE to acquire all capital of China Export-Import Bank’s (EXIM) special purpose vehicle, Perfect Luck Assets Limited effectively transferring full ownership and operational abilities to the company. The share purchase agreement includes all Baha Mar Resort assets previously transferred to the company.
Graeme Davis, former VP of Operations at Rosewood Hotels & Resorts and current president of CTFE’s Bahamian subsidiary, said in a statement today: “CTFE will dedicate significant, ongoing investment and resources towards the pre-opening and opening of Baha Mar Resort. We will also ensure that the Bahamian people and the region benefit fully from the project, which will create tremendous job and economic stimulus opportunities. Further, by combining our global hospitality expertise with the vibrant and authentic Bahamian culture, we will create a memorable, unmatched experience for guests of which all Bahamians can be proud.”
The release went on to report that CTFE is currently in discussions with several well-known hospitality brands to operate high-end properties at Baha Mar including Grand Hyatt, SLS Hotels, and Rosewood Hotel Group, a CTFE subsidiary. A leadership team comprised of executives from these brands is being brought on board in preparation to open the luxury brands at the long-stalled resort.
CTFE plans to begin recruiting casino employees after the holidays and is working with leading global gaming companies to form long-lasting alliances for the project’s success, according to the release.
Chow Tai Fook Enterprises has a financial footprint in real estate, development, hospitality, transportation, and casino gaming in the tens of billions of dollars. Publically listed companies under CTFE control include New World Development Company Limited with market capitalization of more than US$10 billion; NWS Holdings Ltd, an infrastructure and transportation company with market cap in excess of US$6 billion; and Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Limited, perhaps the largest jewellery retailer in the world with a market capitalization of over US$8 billion.
CTFE has had a longstanding relationship with Baha Mar through its Rosewood Hotel Group subsidiary. Rosewood signed onto the project in 2011 and at one point in the debacle that spelled the end of the original developer’s control of the project, in 2015, Rosewood reportedly sued to get out of their licensing agreement with Baha Mar when the project was stalled indefinitely by an attempt at protection through bankruptcy and then through the liquidation process that resulted in a hotel participant with very deep pockets and connections becoming the owner.
Rosewood Hotel Group owns and/or operates 55 hotels in 18 countries under three different brands including The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel in New York, Rosewood London and Rosewood Beijing. Rosewood also operates Jumby Bay, Rosewood Tucker’s Point in Bermuda, and Rosewood Little Dix Bay in the British Virgin Islands. Little Dix Bay is expected to reopen in 2017.
Gaming property investments include a small stake in Macau’s STDM, the Queen’s Wharf Brisbane, a US $2.3 billion integrated resort development project in Australia; and a deluxe casino hotel development in Metro Manila in the Philippines, and the newly dubbed Hoiana, a multi-billion dollar casino resort development in Vietnam.
Phase one of CTFE’s Baha Mar development is expected to open in April 2017, and will include the casino hotel, casino, convention center and golf course.