Baha Mar’s original developer Sarkis Izmirlian.
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
BAHA Mar’s developer Sarkis Izmirlian has reportedly offered to inject more of his own money into Baha Mar to prevent the project from going into full liquidation.
Bloomberg Business, an international news agency, reported yesterday that Mr Izmirlian made the offer to government officials this week as talks between the Christie administration, joint provisional liquidators, China Construction America Inc and the Export-Import Bank of China continue.
Government officials yesterday did not respond to requests for comment on the matter.
Mr Izmirlian, according to Bloomberg, is said to “have asked for collateral and a senior ranking among other creditors to protect his additional investment” as part of his deal to inject an undisclosed amount of funds into the project.
This is not the first time he has reportedly offered to provide additional money for Baha Mar since the megaresort’s problems began.
Despite already having an $850 million equity in the project, he offered in July to put up $200m to restart the $3.5bn project as part of Baha Mar’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in the United States.
At the time, State Minister for Legal Affairs Damian Gomez expressed incredulity at his offer, wondering where the money would come from.
Along with the Chapter 11 proceedings, his offer was ultimately rejected.
Supreme Court Justice Ian Winder granted a request this week to have a hearing for the government’s winding up petition against Baha Mar delayed until November 25. The matter was originally expected to go forward on November 2.
This gave negotiators additional time to hopefully reach a deal to resurrect the stalled development.
Failure to reach one will prompt full liquidation processes to begin, making the resort’s future particularly uncertain.
Last week, Baha Mar’s court appointed joint provisional liquidators got approval from the Supreme Court to make 2,020 employees redundant.
The joint provisional liquidators, Bahamas-based KRyS Global and UK-based AlixPartners, said the layoffs were due to the financial insolvency of the $3.5 billion resort project that has been stalled since June 29.
The layoffs sparked renewed criticism of the parties involved in the matter, including the government which pushed for the liquidators to be appointed and have Baha Mar’s fate decided in the Bahamas court system.
Despite the project’s bleak circumstances, Prime Minister Perry Christie said last Friday that he looks forward to Baha Mar opening “in the not too distant future” and remains optimistic after talks with stakeholders.
“I happen to have the responsibility for the reputation of the (government of the) Bahamas and because I am aware of the commitment of the government of the People’s Republic of China to ensure the just outcome comes about in this matter, I am speaking with great optimism,” Mr Christie said last week.
“And notwithstanding the dark clouds that have emerged, they will soon shift.
“And even those people who were employed and who face (difficultly) in their present situation will find that the government of the Bahamas will not desert them,” Mr Christie said.