Five express interest in buying STO hotel in Hulhumale

Five companies have expressed interest in purchasing an unfinished luxury hotel building in the satellite town of Hulhumale, developer State Trading Organisation (STO) has announced.

Newly appointed Managing Director Hussein Amr told reporters last week that 10 companies had initially expressed interest in the deal, but only five submitted formal expression of interest. Four out of the five are foreign companies, he said.

Chief Financial Officer Mohamed Mihad said negotiations are underway with the five companies. Formal bidding process will conclude by the end of March, he added.

Construction of the property began in October 2011 and major construction works were to be completed by February 2013 with the hotel set to open in November 2013.

STO had in 2012 secured a USD 32 million syndicated loan from Export-Import Bank of Thailand (EXIM Thailand) to develop the property. Under the agreement signed in October 2012, EXIM Thailand and Bank of Maldives (BML) will jointly finance the development.

Construction of the hotel came to a halt in 2014 due to unknown reasons, with US-based Radisson Hotels later pulling out of a management contract with STO to run the hotel under the brand name, Radisson Blu Maldives.

When construction came to a halt in 2014, about 60 per cent of the works had been completed.

STO had in 2016 announced plans to sell the property. Several international hotel operators expressed interest in buying the hotel.

The public limited company, however, later backtracked and announced plans to run the hotel through a joint venture.

According to plans previously made public, the hotel will feature 250 rooms, an ocean-view restaurant and a health club that includes a gym and spa. The property will also offer extensive ballroom and banqueting facilities, with specially designed conference services.

Photo: Mihaaru

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