Bahamas Atlantis Resort sold
The flagship hotel of The Bahamas has been sold in a debt settlement deal.
NASSAU, The Bahamas, Thursday, December 1, 2011 – Atlantis Resort, the hotel attraction that has been synonymous for over a decade with holidaying in The Bahamas, will no longer be the property of global resort company Kerzner International.
In an announcement made Tuesday, Kerzner stated that it would transfer ownership of the Caribbean’s largest and best-known destinations to Canadian property company Brookfield Asset Management to help ease its debt burden.
Kerzner said it had reached an agreement with Brookfield to assume ownership of Atlantis on Paradise Island in the Bahamas and other assets including, Paradise Island properties, including the One and Only Ocean Club, in exchange for taking over US$175 million in debt. Brookfield has more than US$69 billion of property assets and special expertise in real estate.
Kerzner International is the single largest private sector employer in The Bahamas. It accounts for some 5% of the labour force with 8,000 direct jobs attracting an annual payroll of approximately US$189 million.
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham also disclosed on Tuesday that he had had several meetings with Brookfield and Kerzner officials leading up to the transaction to get assurances on job security given that the operation contributed an estimated 18,000 – 20,000 direct and indirect jobs, or 15% of all jobs in The Bahamas economy.
Kerzner International first entered The Bahamas as Sun International in 1994, which Ingraham described as a low point in the country’s tourism performance, and he credited the group with being “overwhelmingly responsible” for the revitalization and expansion of the Bahamian tourism sector.
The prime minister outlined additional contributions to the Bahamian economy from Kerzner’s operations as being $190 million annually in local purchases of goods and services; $47 million paid annually for electricity consumption; nearly $27 million annually in business licence fees; and $20 million annually in room occupancy tax.
He added that Kerzner has also been a generous contributor to community and charitable causes most recently making a generous contribution to hurricane relief following the passage of Hurricane Irene.
Ingraham also said that the Resort has been a reliable partner with the Government in the development and maintenance of public spaces having expended some $26 million on contributions to public parks and recreational space development, annual Independence Celebrations and Hurricane Relief.