Sunday, January 3, 2010

Four Seasons Barbados Gets Government Bailout

"Information reaching the Barbados Advocate has revealed that construction on the project, which ran into financing difficulty in 2009, will re-commence this year, after a deal was struck. The deal involves a refinancing plan, which was reached with lenders, creditors, private residence owners, shareholders and developers. The agreement, which was confirmed by Prime Minister David Thompson, who is also the Minister of Finance, involves Government supporting the refinancing efforts to complete the project. The arrangement in part will allow Government to gain an equity share in the project, while guaranteeing the repayment of the loan, with strict conditions being in place..." Click here or on the newspaper images below for more.
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  1. "Barbados now has a 20 per cent stake in the restarted Four Season project in Black Rock, St Michael, while Cinnamon 88, the original developers are no longer involved.

    The shareholding, which makes the Barbados government the largest shareholder in the project, is as part of its role as guarantor of a US$60 million loan to re-start building.

    Yesterday financial advisor Professor Avinash Persaud who is the new chairman of the board of the Four Seasons Project told the MIDWEEK NATION:
    “There will be a government member of the board representing the Government’s 20 per cent share holding, which we have granted the Government in return for their guarantee..." Click here for entire article.


  3. BAD SIGN =>> Restart Date Already Slipping To End Of Second Quarter 2010 From End Of First Quarter. Hummm, where have we seen this all before ... ? Perhaps the problem still is what it has always been - MONEY. The truth may be somewhere in these mangled paragraphs today:

    "The project came to a sudden halt on February 20 last year under cash-strapped circumstances and over 750 workers, including 300 Barbadians, were sent home.

    He could not say precisely when workers would resume work but suggested May/June of 2010 for them to complete the Four Seasons hotel and most of the villas within 36 months."

  4. Cinnamon 88 also seeking Government bailout for their Four Seasons Grenada project. Click here for the sordid details.

  5. Four Seasons Barbados - "MORE LIGHT - MORE CONFUSION - MORE DELAYS" - -

  6. Four Seasons Barbados restart now ... "around the middle of the year or maybe just after" - - or maybe we just don't know ... or maybe never.

  7. Four Seasons may restart soon

    Published on: 5/8/2010.

    THE STALLED Four Seasons resort project could be restarted shortly with some Government help.

    Word of this came yesterday from Professor Avinash Persaud, executive chairman of a body representing stakeholders in Four Seasons.

    Persaud, in Geneva, told Starcom Network News yesterday that the construction of the multi-million dollar resort could resume within weeks if Government approved a loan guarantee for the project.

    He said he expected Cabinet to give approval.

    The radio station said that Persaud had asked Government to guarantee repayment of a loan of US$60 million in return for a 20 per cent stake in the project and some "special rights".

    It quoted him as saying some financial agreements to restart the project were already in place but the guarantee which would ensure the release of more funds was outstanding.

    Construction of the resort was halted in February 2009, with access to funds listed as the major problem.

    The project will involve construction of a 100-room hotel and 36 villas. It once employed more than 700 construction workers. (TY)

  8. "Government has approved the US $60 million (BDS $120 million) required to get the Four Seasons project restarted.
    According to well-placed sources, Cabinet approved the funding last week, and an official announcement is expected soon.
    A body representing stakeholders in the resort had asked Government to guarantee the repayment of a US$60 million in return for a 20 per cent stake in the project and “special rights”.
    Construction was halted in February last year, with access to funds listed as the main problem."


  9. "IT WAS Prime Minister David Thompson who sought economist Avinash Persaud’s help in getting the stalled Four Seasons project going after the original developers failed three times to secure private financing to restart the tourism and residential facility.
    Persaud, who provided an unrestricted tour of the facility and discussed plans to salvage the project slated to employ about 1000 people during the construction phase, admitted that a lot was riding on its success.

    “I got a call from the Prime Minister last September inviting me to a meeting
    at which he was going to be the host to British investors, with the hope of [my] encouraging them to come to Barbados. “At the end of that, we naturally slipped into a conversation about the number of projects that had been halted in Barbados. . . . We both agreed that Four Seasons was a particularly sad operation given that it had the power to spawn or help to transform the entire tourism sector,” Persaud told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY in a recent interview. According to the new executive chairman of the project, “We had three very powerful brands – the Four Seasons, the brands of the villa owners who include the leaders of the world’s entertainment industry, and the Barbados brand.

    “My view was, if you brought those three brands together there must be a way to make it work. The Prime Minister said if what it took to make it work was a Government guarantee, then that was what his Government would be willing to pursue.”

    Persaud admitted, however, that the numerous delays in getting Four Seasons restarted had shaken the confidence of some villa owners. “Despite all the delays and all of the difficulties, I still believe this project will play a significant role in the continued upgrading of our tourism sector. It is what we need to do to be able to pay Barbadian workers reasonable incomes in the future. “Before my invovlement in October 2009, there had been three failed attempts to rescue the project without a Government guarantee. When I started on it in September and October, discussing it with a range of regional and international banks, it became clear that there was no appetite for new lending [for] hotels and no project in the Caribbean, least [of all] one that was already in difficulty,” he noted.

    With ANSA McAL Merchant Bank of Trinidad and Tobago on the verge of syndicating the loan, Persaud said villa owners felt that the Government guarantee provided a signal of Government’s strong support.

    “It would be dishonest to say that the length of time it has taken for the guarantee to be signed did not have some impact on their confidence in the project and Government’s commitment. “We continued to assure them that it was a matter of due process and was necessary, but we certainly had a job to do. “One of my jobs is to rebuild the trust and confidence of villa owners and everyone else in the project.”"


  10. "$120m not enough

    THE $120 MILLION GOVERNMENT GUARANTEE that has kick-started the stalled Four Seasons project is not enough to complete the mammoth luxury facility. It was enough, however, to get the buy-in of confidence-shaken villa owners and creditors, said Professor Avinash Persaud. The respected international economist and financier who was invited by Prime Minister David Thompson last September to work with Government to get the project going again, said ideally the Paradise Beach, St Michael tourism project would have required at least
    $240 million to complete without further financing. “As a member of the National Council of Economic Advisors, I was well aware of Government’s tight fiscal position and indeed I have made my job harder by limiting the size of the Government guarantee to the minimum possible to get the project up on its feet.

    “The size of the Government guarantee is not sufficient to ensure that the project does not need any further financing. It would have been ideal, from a private point of view, if the guarantee was twice its size. However, it would not be appropriate for Barbados. . . .
    My job is now three times harder by keeping the guarantee to this size,” he told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY in an interview. The Government guarantee of a $120 million ANSA McAL Merchant Bank loan will see Paradise Beach Limited manage the construction of 26 luxury villas and a Four Seasons hotel.

    Among the villa owners who have invested millions so far buying properties at Four Seasons are entertainment producer Simon Cowell and world-famous English composer Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber. Persaud said these and other investors who had already paid down more than $80 million for homes overlooking Paradise Beach “were very much committed to the project and committed to helping in the rebuilding process and have played an important role in the last nine months by helping me get this agreement together”. So far, 16 villas have been
    sold and Persaud said work would resume once villa owners signed off on a villa construction plan."

    Source: 7/21/10


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