The beleaguered $3 billion-plus Baha Mar resort in the Bahamas has emerged from uncertainty by having its assets sold to an affiliate of the project’s primary lender, Export-Import Bank of China. The sale to the CEXIM affiliate entity called Perfect Luck Holdings was recently confirmed by Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christie’s office.
On October 8, before details of the sale were made public BMD Holdings Ltd., the former developer of the project headed up by Sarkis Izmirlian contacted EXIM and the Prime Minister stating that they were prepared to make an offer in all respects superior to what was being offered.
A week later the Prime Minister’s office revealed the buyer, a “special purpose vehicle” (SPV) of CEXIM and stated that Perfect Luck, “may sell the resort to whomever it wishes, subject to the proposed purchaser being acceptable to the government and other bodies performing their public function.”
“At each stage of the process Mr. Izmirlian has had the opportunity to participate in discussions and the process surrounding the future of the resort.
“If, as he states, Mr. Izmirlian is in a position to, and wishes to work with CEXIM to deliver Baha Mar for the Bahamian people, then he should engage seriously with Perfect Luck and its advisors. If he is in a position to make a credible proposal to acquire Baha Mar from Perfect Luck, then he is free to do so,” Mr. Christie said.
In his Oct. 10 letter to Export-Import Bank of China president Liu Liange and copied to Prime Minister Christie, Mr. Izmirlian wrote, “If our offers had been considered, it is very likely that Baha Mar would be open today, employing thousands of Bahamians,” according to a press release issued soon after.
In a series of turns beginning with construction and progress delays that EXIM contractor, Chinese State owned CCA (China Construction America) and Izmirlian blamed on each other, Izmirlian’s attempt to successfully file for bankruptcy in U.S. courts, and the eventual layoffs of about 2,000 employees before the resort ever opened, the saga has created political stress and uncertainty in the Bahamas economy.
In his Oct. 10 letter Mr. Izmirlian stated, “It has been stated that this Chinese party was found outside the Receivers sales process. This is very important and surprising. As you must be aware, we previously were advised on multiple occasion by your Receivers that all offers were required to be tendered through the Receivers’ process, and the multitude of bona fide offers we have made were not considered because of that. In fact, if our offers had been considered, it is very likely that Baha Mar would be open today, employing thousands of Bahamians.
“Since the potential acquisition of Baha Mar by an unidentified party via an offer outside the Receivers’ process is now what CEXIM is entertaining, we hereby submit the following offer, which we are confident is both far superior economically and in the best interest of The Bahamas,” according to the press release.
The multi-billion dollar Baha Mar project broke ground in 2011 and had several missed openings. Construction resumed in September 2016. The Prime Minister’s office recently stated that it believes the property can still open by the end of winter season putting the opening near March 2017.