Chinese firms to invest more in stalled Baha Mar project

The stalled Baha Mar resort project in the Bahamas got a shot of good news Monday. Chinese firms building and bankrolling much of the $3.5-billion resort now say they would invest more to complete the project, construction of which was grounded after the project ran out of money.

According to Reuters, China Construction America (CCA) said it was prepared to invest an additional $100 million in Baha Mar. A unit of China State Construction Engineering Corp, CCA said it also had offered to provide a $175-million guarantee to China's Export Import Bank in connection with the bank's offer of a new $200-million facility to Baha Mar Ltd, the resort's developer.

The resort, with more than 2,000 hotel rooms, was set to open at the end of March. But after missing that deadline, Baha Mar Ltd, a development group led by Sarkis Izmirlian, ran out of money and filed for bankruptcy protection last month.

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China Ex-Im Bank has financed most of the project with a $2.45-billion loan and CCA made a minority equity investment of $150 million, in addition to being the main contractor.

Izmirlian's family has invested more than $900 million.

CCA said the bank wants Baha Mar to provide more guarantees to secure the new $200 million loan facility.

"Mr. Izmirlian has categorically rejected our reasonable request for a counter guarantee - one which would put the Baha Mar resort project back on track for completion," CCA said in a statement.

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