Loan guaranteed for Hilton upgrades


Parliament has approved a guarantee for a $12 million loan for Needham’s Point Holdings Limited from First Citizens Bank.
Speaking in the House of Assembly yesterday morning as he led off the debate on the resolution to approve the guarantee, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Christopher Sinckler said the money is required to undertake the second phase of the major refurbishment work on the Hilton Hotel, which is managed by Needham’s Point Holdings Limited.
His comments came as he said that the work is necessary to ensure that any wear and tear that has occurred over the past 11 years is remedied and ensures that the hotel remains up-to-date in the competitive tourism market. Moreover, he indicated that the loan will supplement $9 million provided through the hotel’s Furnishings, Fixtures and Equipment Fund.
“In and around a year and a half ago, 18 months ago in collaboration with the Board of Needham’s, the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Finance and of course the Hilton people, it was determined that given the pre-tender estimates for the cost associated with doing this major refurbishment of all of the rooms at Hilton, that it would cost just around… $21 million Barbados dollars. The fund has $9 million in it for that particular purpose, not that it has $9 million only, but $9 million was set aside for the major upgrades and the Needham’s Corporation would therefore require an additional $12 million through a private placement in the financial market to be able to complete that work,” he said.
According to Minister Sinckler, the first phase of that work, which resulted in some 200 rooms being renovated, has already been completed. The work already undertaken, the Finance Minister said has been “really quite transformational”.
“In order to get on with the second phase of the work the company approached the Government of Barbados to satisfy the requirement of the financial institution, in this case First Citizens Bank (Barbados) Limited for a loan of $12 million, to be supported first by a letter of comfort and then latterly taken out of course as required by law, by a sovereign guarantee issued by the Parliament of Barbados,” he said.
Sinckler told the Lower House that the loan is for ten years with an interest rate of 6.5 per cent per annum, fixed for three years. (JRT)

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