Gov’t to reassess sale of Marriott Hotel after highest bidder dies – Jagdeo

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American businessman Ramy El-Batrawi, who was the highest bidder for the Marriott Hotel in Kingston, Georgetown, passed away on Wednesday and Guyana’s Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo said the government may have to once again seek bids for the sale of the hotel.

Jagdeo, at a press conference on Thursday, added that the government is also exploring whether it can engage the second highest bidder or it may decide to keep the hotel instead of selling it.

El-Batrawi, through his company X LLC, submitted a US$90 million bid for the hotel. The second bid, from the iNtegrated Group Guyana Inc., was US$86.1 million.

As the higher bidder, El- Batrawai was in negotiations with the government. Now, however, Jagdeo said the government may engage the second company on a possible arrangement but if that cannot be done- that is, if the bid is now invalid- the hotel may be kept.

“… if the bid is not valid the government may decide to go back out or keep the hotel,” Jagdeo said.

Initially, six bids were received by the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) after it issued a prequalification notice and invited bids from individuals or companies interested in the hotel.

The highest of those six bids then was US$65 million, tendered by El-Batrawi. The second highest bid tendered was US$55.5 million from local businessman and owner of the Pegasus Hotel, Robert Badal.

But the government opted not to accept any of those bids, believing that the Kingston hotel was worth a lot more.

The hotel was opened in April 2015, following the controversial period of its construction. It remains today, 100 percent owned by the government, constructed with a US$17.3 million loan from Republic Bank. That loan was later restructured.

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