Latest update May 31st, 2023 3:04 PM
May 17, 2023 News
– Guyanese consortium comes in second with US$86.1M
Kaieteur News – American businessman, Ramy El-Batrawi, has submitted a new proposal of US$90 million to purchase the profitable Guyana Marriott Hotel, with his lone challenger Ravindra Prashad bidding US$86.1 million.
On May 2, the Government of Guyana (GOG) informed six bidders, X, LLC owned by Batrawi (US$65 million), Integrated Group Guyana Limited, headed by Prashad (US$55 million), Robert Badal, owner of the Pegasus Hotel (US$55.5 million), Georgetown Investments and Management Services Inc. (Princess Hotel) (US$50 million), NCB Capital Markets Limited, a Jamaican Company headed by Steve Gooding (US$33 million), and Muneshwers Limited, owned by Amarnauth Muneshwer (US$25 million) that their initial bids were rejected, because the bids were too low and did not reflect the true value of the hotel.
The Government then invited the bidders to make a new proposal for the hotel but with a minimum bid price of US$85 million.
The deadline for the submission the new bid was on Tuesday May 16, 2023. In a statement issued yesterday, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), Mr. Radha Krishna Sharma, disclosed that only two of the six initial bidders have resubmitted their proposals for the acquisition of the Kingston, Georgetown hotel. The two bidders are Batrawi the owner of X, LLC and local consortium, Integrated Group Guyana Limited, headed by Prashad.
At the Bid Opening, representatives of one bidder were physically present, while a representative of the other attended virtually via Zoom Video Conference.
Mr. Sharma, Company Secretary & In-House Attorney of NICIL Arianne McLean, and Manager of Internal Audit and Risk Management of NICIL, Naresh Balkaran were present at the Bid Opening Meeting. The tender box was opened in the presence of all and the bids were opened and read aloud in the presence of all present. The bidders and their respective bids were recorded, signed and acknowledged by the bidders who were present, as well as the Representatives of NICIL.
Kaieteur News had reported that given the new prerequisite, local businessman and owner of the Pegasus Hotel, Robert Badal, had pulled out of the race. Badal, was among the six who had submitted their proposal to NICIL and he was also the second highest bidder with a bid of US$55.5 million. When contacted, Mr. Badal explained that he has already submitted his best bid price for the hotel. As such, he noted he will not be inclined to proceed any further.
Several days after the six bidders submitted their proposals, Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo announced that the “bids are too low” and added that the government will not proceed with the sale of the hotel until the bid reflects the true value of the hotel.
The Vice President made the announcement during his party’s press conference, explaining that the government went to tender testing the market but, “none of the bids meet our price expectation, and we will not proceed with any of those bids.”
The Vice President assured that the hotel will continue to be owned by the government until an appropriate offer that mirrors the true value of the hotel is received. “We know what the true value will be in the current contexts. So that matter should be put to rest, that we will not proceed with any of the bids, because we believe that they are too low based on the value of that asset now and its capacity to earn,” Jagdeo continued.
The Marriott Hotel started, under the Jagdeo administration when he was President, using taxpayers’ dollars and with a syndicated loan through the Republic Bank Limited of Trinidad and had opened its doors on April 17, 2015.
Under the syndicated loan agreement, the preferred rights go to those investors – meaning that in the event of the hotel being unable to service the loan – the unknown investors would have the first lien on the proceeds of any sale.
Kaieteur News had highlighted that the hotel’s top bidder was barred by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) back in 2010 from acting as an officer or director of a public company for a period of five years. It was reported that the US body had filed fraud charges in 2006 against Ramy El-Batrawi, and others arising out of US$130 million stock loan and manipulation scheme.
Notably, while El-Batrawi never accepted wrongdoings, in April 2010 the final judgment resulted in him being barred from running a public company for five years. This publication had also highlighted that El-Batrawi visited Guyana twice last year, October 2022, and November 2022. The American businessman had praised the time he spent with President Irfaan Ali during his visits to Guyana.
One month later, NICIL announced the Government’s decision to sell the hotel. In March 2023, Jagdeo revealed that despite the criticism the hotel faced when the construction was announced – the hotel has emerged as a profitable venture, but justified the sale of the hotel by stating that it was a business decision.
In fact, the VP said during a press conference that while the hotel is making a profit, it is of no supreme benefit to the Government owning it anymore. Jagdeo continued by saying that within a few years several hotels are expected to come on stream and in order to avoid competition, this is the best time to maximise the profit and sell the hotel.
According to Jagdeo, the proceeds of the sale is to be used, “to clear off the remaining loan and some of it will come back to the Treasury to be used back for whatever purpose is determined.”
Notably, a decision by the former administration has resulted in US$1.1 million ($226 million) of taxpayers’ dollars coming out every six months (since 2017) to service the US$27 million loan from the bank – for a 13-year period. This was after the hotel was unable to service the loan. In order to prevent the hotel from being acquired by the bank, the former Government in April 2017 made the decision to transfer the hotel’s financial obligations to the Central Government. However, VP Jagdeo stated that while in Opposition, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) administration was opposed to the hotel’s financial obligation being transferred.
TT PM closing loopholes, while our VP creating loopholes
May 31, 2023Kaieteur Sports- The Guyana Mixed Martial Arts Karate Association (GMMAKA) has attended The North American Federation of Martial Arts Championship last Saturday, 27th May, 2023 at the Sheraton Hotel,...
May 31, 2023
May 31, 2023
May 31, 2023
May 31, 2023
May 31, 2023
Kaieteur News- The President has shown the art of compromise in his response to the Mahdia tragedy. The Opposition called... more
By Sir Ronald Sanders Kaieteur News – The report on May 17, from the World Meteorological Organization, (WMO) that... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]