THE Office of the Prime Minister has urged Sarkis Izmirlian to work with Perfect Luck Holdings Limited, the company that has acquired Baha Mar’s assets, if the resort developer is in a position to make a “credible proposal” to buy the property as he has suggested.
In a statement released by the Office of the Prime Minister yesterday, the government confirmed a report published by Tribune Business earlier this month, which revealed that Deloitte & Touche receivers sold the resort to a special purpose vehicle (SPV) owned by the Export-Import Bank of China (CEXIM), the project’s $2.45 billion secured creditor.
Once Baha Mar has been completed, under the ownership of the bank’s SPV, the ‘second’ or final sale will occur, it was previously reported.
Yesterday’s statement added that Prime Minister Perry Christie had received a copy of a recent letter written by Mr Izmirlian to CEXIM Vice Chairman and President Liu Liange, which was also sent to the press last week.
“The letter and the press release contain some extraordinary statements,” the statement said. “Normally the government would not respond to such a letter and statement but so far as it impacts on what the government has achieved, which is well documented, in ensuring that the Baha Mar development is finished and Bahamian creditors paid, the government is compelled to give this statement.
“The assets of Baha Mar have been acquired by Perfect Luck Holdings Limited (Perfect Luck). The sale followed a lengthy marketing process by the receivers, and that process and the resulting sale of the assets to Perfect Luck were overseen and approved by the Bahamas Supreme Court.
“Now that the assets are owned by Perfect Luck, that company 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,” the prime minister’s statement said.
“At each stage of the process - which commenced when Baha Mar’s developer, Sarkis Izmirlian, without any prior notice, arranged for the Baha Mar companies to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in the United States - 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.”
The statement added that “after much hard work,” Baha Mar is back on track, saying remobilisation has commenced. It also referred to the fund set up by CEXIM to pay creditors’ claims and former Baha Mar Bahamian employees.
Payments to former Bahamian Baha Mar employees commenced last month, however there were some complaints about discrepancies in the amounts given and what was said to be owed.
“Those were two of the prime minister’s three stated primary objectives and they have been achieved,” the statement said. “The third objective is to ensure that Baha Mar is sold to a world class hotel and casino operator. The government of the Bahamas will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that this objective is fulfilled, in the very best interest of the economy and the people of the Bahamas.
“Real progress is being made and that progress must continue through to the completion and successful operation of the resort by a world class casino and hotel operator.”
Yesterday, a source close to Baha Mar questioned why the government is not urging CEXIM to negotiate with Mr Izmirlian, considering his repeated offer to have Bahamian workers and creditors, as well as expatriates, paid in full if he buys the resort.
The source, who did not want to be named, also questioned the process behind Perfect Luck’s acquisition of Baha Mar, saying the court process has been secret and concealed.
The insider also said Mr Izmirlian was shut out of the receivers’ sales process, which the source claimed was designed to keep the hotelier out of the bidding system.
The Tribune understands that Mr Izmirlian has not received a response to his letter or offer from CEXIM.