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PM: Atlantis recapitalization “encouraging”

During a press conference held at the Office of the Prime Minister July 1, managing director at Brookfield Andrea Balkin announced that the company would complete a $1.9 billion recapitalization and appoint a new property manager. (stock photo)

Source:
Date:
Updated:
TheBahamasInvestor.com
Thursday, July 3, 2014
Thursday, July 3, 2014

During a press conference held at the Office of the Prime Minister July 1, managing director at Brookfield Asset Management Corp Andrea Balkin announced that the company would complete a $1.9 billion recapitalization and appoint a new property manager for the Atlantis Paradise Island resort.


Prime Minister Perry Christie said he was encouraged by this latest move on the part of Atlantis. He said the latest project was one of the 36 investments that he recently mentioned during the 2014/2015 Budget Debate.

“This is an enormous manifestation of confidence both in Atlantis as a successful business and in the economy of The Bahamas,” said Christie.

“The size of this transaction is an incredible accomplishment in today’s challenging global economic environment. It confirms the forecast of a bright future for our tourist industry, in which Atlantis is the largest private sector partner with some 8,000 employees.”

Balkin said that these two agreements would “position” the resort for future success.

“To place Atlantis on secure financial footing, Brookfield and its institutional partners have made an additional $195 million equity investment in the resort,” said Balkin.

“In addition, Atlantis has arranged and closed on $1.75 billion, seven-year, fixed-rate credit facility from a consortium of lenders.”

Christie said that the government has worked “cooperatively and tirelessly” with Brookfield and its partners to approve and grant the necessary permits for the refinancing transaction on terms and benefits similar to those granted at the time of Brookfield’s acquisition of majority ownership from Kerzner in 2012.

He said that Brookfield has also made several agreements with the government. Included in those agreements are:

  • a promise not to reduce the staff at the resort during the current ownership;
  • to continue to operate a world-class facility and maintain high standards;
  • to utilise Bahamian contractors, labour, materials, supplies etc. to the fullest extent at the resort; and
  • to arrange to make more facilities available to Bahamians such as for playtime and preferred fees for members of the Bahamas Golf Federation to utilise the Paradise Island golf course.

“And lastly, and very importantly, Brookfield and Access Industries, which has acquired One&Only Ocean Club, will now concentrate on the upgrading and expansion of facilities at both Atlantis and the Ocean Club to turn them into the most compelling and iconic resort operations,” said Christie.

President and managing director of Atlantis George Markantonis was also positive about the move.

“Atlantis is a multi-dimensional destination like no other, and we are looking forward to this next chapter in our history,” he said. “This iconic resort will continue to thrive, and we will ensure our guests have an experience of a lifetime.”

Brookfield has created a wholly owned subsidiary named Brookfield Hospitality LLC to assume management of Atlantis when the management contract with Kerzner International expires September 9, 2014.

George Markantonis, who has been president and managing director of Atlantis, for more than eight years, will lead Brookfield Hospitality. Brookfield has stated that the change in management will have no impact on day-to-day operations at Atlantis.

Prime Minister Perry Christie gave a speech at the CARICOM Heads of Government Conference in Antigua and Barbuda July 2. Read his address here.

Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) recently launched services to three Caribbean region destinations from the US. The airline will now fly services between Baltimore/Washington and Aruba, Jamaica and The Bahamas.

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