Break­ing: San­dals Ex­plores Sale

The Star (St. Lucia) - - BUSINESS -

Ac­cord­ing to Reuters M&A cor­re­spon­dent Carl O’Don­nell, “San­dals Re­sorts In­ter­na­tional is ex­plor­ing strate­gic al­ter­na­tives in­clud­ing a po­ten­tial sale of the com­pany, ac­cord­ing to peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter.”

San­dals has hired in­vest­ment bank Deutsche Bank AG to ex­plore sev­eral op­tions, in­clud­ing a sale of a ma­jor­ity stake in the com­pany, the peo­ple said, ask­ing not to be iden­ti­fied be­cause the de­lib­er­a­tions are con­fi­den­tial. The valu­a­tion of the com­pany could not be learned, but the sources said it could be worth well over $1 bil­lion USD, in­clud­ing debt. There is no cer­tainty the move will re­sult in any deal, the sources added.

San­dals rep­re­sen­ta­tives con­tacted by Reuters did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment. Deutsche Bank de­clined to com­ment.

San­dals Re­sorts In­ter­na­tional, un­der the leadership of charis­matic founder Gor­don “Butch” Ste­wart, has been an ex­pan­sive com­pany with an ag­gres­sive growth tra­jec­tory. Fi­nanc­ing costly growth ini­tia­tives of any sig­nif­i­cant scale is dif­fi­cult in the Caribbean due to the un­der­cap­i­tal­iza­tion is­sues with re­gional lenders and banks. Butch may be look­ing to Wall Street as a ve­hi­cle to fund ex­pan­sion.

The pos­si­bil­ity of an own­er­ship han­dover comes at a piv­otal time for San­dals’ Saint Lu­cian op­er­a­tions. San­dals Grande St. Lu­cian Spa & Beach Re­sort re­cently un­veiled its lux­u­ri­ous Over-the-Wa­ter bun­ga­lows - the first of their kind in the Eastern Caribbean.

Dur­ing Tues­day evening’s bud­get ad­dress, Saint Lu­cian Prime Min­is­ter Allen Chastanet listed San­dals La Source as one of sev­eral tourism de­vel­op­ment projects cur­rently un­der con­sid­er­a­tion by his ad­min­is­tra­tion. The new ho­tel is es­ti­mated to cost $250 mil­lion USD with con­struc­tion an­tic­i­pated to be­gin in De­cem­ber of this year.

It is un­clear what reper­cus­sions a po­ten­tial board­room reshuf­fling will mean for San­dals Re­sorts In­ter­na­tional and its ac­tiv­i­ties in Saint Lu­cia.

--- C.W

The pos­si­bilty of an own­er­ship han­dover comes at a piv­otal time for San­dals’ Saint Lu­cian op­er­a­tions.

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