Minister: Govt Loan Guarantee For St Regis Hotel

May 12, 2017 | 16 Comments

Speaking in the House of Assembly today [May 12], Minister of Finance Bob Richards advised of the pending execution of a Government Guarantee on behalf of Hotelco Bermuda in relation to loans for the construction of the proposed St Regis Hotel in St. George’s, saying that “Government has supported the financing of this project by committing to provide a guarantee of up to $25 million for an estimated project cost of $150 million.”

Minister Richards said, “In accordance with Section 2 AA [3] of the Government Loans Act 1978, I rise this morning to inform this Honourable House of the pending execution of a Government Guarantee on behalf of Hotelco Bermuda Holding Ltd, part of the Desarrollos Hotelco Group in relation to loans to finance the development costs & related expenses associated with the construction of the proposed St Regis Luxury Hotel, Casino, Spa & Golf Resort in St. George’s.

Photo from the ground breaking held earlier this month:

7538_TOURISM_PREMIER_MINISTER_GROUND_BREAKING_ST_REGIS_HOTEL_VSR_105

“Government has supported the financing of this project by committing to provide a guarantee of up to $25 million for an estimated project cost of $150 million. This support is tangible evidence of Government’s commitment to the redevelopment of the tourism sector.

“The Guarantee provides that the Government cannot be legally required to fund more than $25 million to repay the lender if Hotelco Bermuda Holding Ltd is unable to perform their obligations to the lender. The financing being guaranteed is provided under a loan facility maturing in fifteen years.

“I am pleased that a local financial institution has shown confidence in the project and the tourism sector and Government is delighted that they could assist in making this happen.

“It is generally not the policy of the Ministry of Finance to issue guarantees to the private sector unless the matter is of national importance. However, until recently, the island has not seen a new hotel development for some time and the Government strongly supports this Project and the economic benefits that it will bring to Bermuda.

“It is also important to note that the Government will be compensated for providing the guarantee. Also of significance is the fact that initially the developer will be investing their own equity capital in the project thereby delaying the exposure of Government.

“The Government guarantee is in relation to the bank loans and not the developer’s equity, therefore the Government’s actual contingent liability only exists in line with the Banks loan.

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Mr. Speaker, in accordance with Section 2 AA [3] of the Government Loans Act 1978, I rise this morning to inform this Honourable House of the pending execution of a Government Guarantee on behalf of Hotelco Bermuda Holding Ltd, part of the Desarrollos Hotelco Group in relation to loans to finance the development costs & related expenses associated with the construction of the proposed St Regis Luxury Hotel, Casino, Spa & Golf Resort in St. George’s. This is indeed a historic project for the tourism industry, the St. George’s community and Bermuda as a whole.

Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members may recall that the Government of Bermuda has a Master Development Agreement [MDA] with Hotelco Bermuda Holding Ltd., a part of the Desarrollos Hotelco Group. Following intense negotiations, a ground breaking ceremony was held on May 4th 2017.

Mr. Speaker, Government has supported the financing of this project by committing to provide a guarantee of up to $25 million for an estimated project cost of $150 million. This support is tangible evidence of Government’s commitment to the redevelopment of the tourism sector. We reiterate our belief that there are many factors surrounding the decline in our once preeminent industry. One of the key factors is the investment piece: the ability to promote a value proposition for investors in Bermuda hospitality. The financial closing for this project is real world success in that objective.

This project will provide jobs for Bermudians in the construction phase as well as jobs for Bermudians once the facility becomes operational.

Mr. Speaker, the Guarantee provides that the Government cannot be legally required to fund more than $25 million to repay the lender if Hotelco Bermuda Holding Ltd is unable to perform their obligations to the lender. The financing being guaranteed is provided under a loan facility maturing in fifteen years.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased that a local financial institution has shown confidence in the project and the tourism sector and Government is delighted that they could assist in making this happen.

Mr. Speaker, it is generally not the policy of the Ministry of Finance to issue guarantees to the private sector unless the matter is of national importance. However, until recently, the island has not seen a new hotel development for some time and the Government strongly supports this Project and the economic benefits that it will bring to Bermuda. With the hosting of the America’s Cup we must do even more to attract local and foreign capital to our shores to develop our tourism product. At a Tourism Summit held a few years ago in Bermuda it was noted that our competitors are doing a great deal to attract financing for hotel projects, some Governments are going so far as to guarantee the debt in order to finalize the acquisition of the required financing for the project. This is exactly what we have done in order to ensure this development materializes.

Mr. Speaker, it is also important to note that the Government will be compensated for providing the guarantee. Also of significance is the fact that initially the developer will be investing their own equity capital in the project thereby delaying the exposure of Government.

Mr. Speaker, to be clear, the Government guarantee is in relation to the bank loans and not the developer’s equity, therefore the Government’s actual contingent liability only exists in line with the Banks loan. The funding arrangements for the project are as follows:

  • The first $30 million of the project cost will be funded with equity capital;
  • The next $120 million will be funded evenly between equity and the bank loan;
  • 60% or $90 million will be funded with equity capital;
  • 40% or $60 million will be funded with a bank loan
  • The Government’s guarantee is limited to $25 million of the bank loan.

Mr. Speaker, the proposed 122 room St. Regis Bermuda will be the first significant hotel development in St George’s for decades and will present many opportunities for local residents and businesses to participate in an invigorated tourism industry in the East End of the Island.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker

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Comments (16)

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  1. So P.L.P. will be left holding de bag for all these deals, especially de airport.

    • wahoo says:

      Oh don’t you worry your little mind about that!

    • Double S says:

      You mean the PLP will try and take all the praise when these deals increase economic activity and decrease unemployment.

    • BI You says:

      But yet Onion Juice didnt mind at all when the PLP forgave the BIU and released them from the Proactove Berkely deal? The people of Bermuda NOT tge PLP paid for that. You had no problem alsp the Butterfield Bank guarantee? But why not? Onion Juice . you are so pathatic.

    • jt says:

      Holding a bag of goodies. How long to ‘redistribute’ them this time?

  2. San George says:

    We big – guarantee the entire $100 million; now that would be impressive. That would send a message we will do anything with the people’s money to get re-elected.

    • Trump supporter says:

      Sort of like free bus rides, free ferry,free car license etc.

  3. Maria J says:

    But Government workers can’t get a raise. Smh

    • Double S says:

      What does a guarantee have to do with a raise?

      You do realize this guarantee actually makes money for the government right? You also realize that a guarantee only means monies being paid out in the event of a default right?

      • What?? says:

        The guarantee will be considered part of the Government’s debt load by lenders. This will increase the cost of borrowing and possibly affect our credit rating. If the guarantee actually makes money for the Government then I’m sure the Minister would have given us details concerning that windfall.

    • Onion says:

      Yes, and the PLP are the ones who left Bermuda borrowing 400 million a year and promised to keep spending until your salary cheque bounced.

    • Spit Bouy says:

      @ Maria J

      Neither can many in the private sector, you’re point is what again? Oh yeah there is no point is there?? ZZZZZ.

    • Zevon says:

      Civil servants get raises regularly.
      Along with their 6.5 weeks vacation and 70 days sick leave.

    • jt says:

      You’re still employed. All of you. Next red herring please.

  4. Francis says:

    Good move Minister Richards. Those muppets at the PLP/UBP failed as usual

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