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Big bill

Troubled Barbadian hotel group Almond Resorts Incorporated is still costing its Trinidad and Tobago owner Neal & Massy Holdings millions of dollars.

In the wake of recent shareholder approval for its Almond Beach Club property to be sold to Fairweather Holding Company for $33 million, the regional conglomerate has revealed that this transaction and pending ones involving its two other hotel properties here would cost it about $11.5 million.

The additional financial outlay was announced by N&M Chairman Arthur Lok Jack as he reported on his organisation’s financial performance for the first half of this year.

N&M CEO Gervase Warner had previously noted that the Club was valued at $59 million, which based on the Fairweather deal, meant the owners accepted an offer $26 million below what the St. James property was worth.

“On July 25, 2012, the Almond Resorts Inc. shareholders voted in support of selling the Almond Beach Club property to Fairweather Holding Company, which is the same company that bought Almond Morgan Bay in St. Lucia in December 2011,” Lok Jack said.

“The transaction should be completed in August 2012. Furthermore, viable offers for Almond Beach Village, which can be presented to shareholders for approval are being finalised. Based on these developments, the net provision to Neal & massy was increased to $37 million, which would cover the net loss to Neal & Massy based on the offers that are being developed,” he added.

Elsewhere in the N&M group, which owns several companies in Barbados by virtue of its purchase of Barbados Shipping & Trading Company Limited, Lok Jack indicated things were not that much better, specifically in the automotive and retail businesses.

“Profit before tax from the integrated consumer portfolio and the strategic investment portfolio grew by 5.3 per cent and 7.6 per cent respectively, while PBT from the other investments portfolio fell by 10.2 per cent. Specifically, the Guyana group of companies, driven by a buoyant economy, enjoyed the strongest PBT growth in the group,” he reported.

“The automotive and integrated retail businesses in Trinidad continued to produce strong contribution to the group’s growth, while their counterparts in Barbados suffered from compressed margins and increasing energy costs.”

The chairman pointed out that a one off property sale in Barbados drove the growth in the other investments portfolio.”

He added, however, that N&M’s overall financial position “remains strong”, as total assets increased from TT$8.2 billion to TT$8.5 billion at the end June 2012. (SC)

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