Fijian investor inches closer to finalizing portfolio buy

The Westin Denarau Island Resort & Spa, Fiji. Photo credit: Marriott International. (Fiji National Provident Fund is in talks with Starwood Hotels & Resorts to purchase a majority of its hotels in Fiji. )

The Fiji National Provident Fund is in finalizing a deal to acquire several properties on the country's Denarau Island for a total investment of approximately FJ$400 million. This portfolio sale will be one of the largest completed in Fiji. 

The portfolio includes hotels currently operating under the Sheraton and Westin brands, the Denarau Golf and Racquet Club, Denarau Golf Course and about 60 acres of residential land that is zoned for condominium construction. The sale will not include the Sheraton Apartments as they are owned by individuals. 

The hotels were originally placed on the market in 2015 and sold in a bid sale won by a local consortium. However, the transfer process was cut short when a caveat on the properties stopped the title transfer. Later, the Fiji National Provident Fund joined the negotiations and overcame the title transfer issues. 

The hotels will join the investment fund's portfolio in Fiji with the Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay, which Marriott opened last April, and the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa at Natadola. While the Westin underwent an extensive renovation three years ago, the Sheraton reportedly remains below current resort standards and requires significant investment in a renovation. However, concern remains that if hotels close for upgrades, the closings will reduce Fiji's hotel stock for an extended period well into the country's peak tourism time while the industry is trying to boost room numbers.