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Aman Resorts to build ultra luxurious hotel in Bangkok

Natural Park group closes deal for six-star riverside hotel


KRISSANA PARNSOON


Amid doubts over its finances, Natural Park Plc has closed a deal with the Treasury Department to develop a six-star hotel on a prime plot on the east bank of the Chao Phraya River, which now houses the 115-year-old Customs House.
The consortium of N-Park, Amanresorts Services and Silverlink Holdings Limited yesterday signed a 30-year agreement to develop and manage the boutique hotel on a five-rai plot on Charoen Krung Road for 30 years.

The group paid a total of 128.3 million baht in cash to the department, of which 125 million baht was a front-end fee and 3.3 million baht the first-year rent. It also placed a letter of guarantee worth 43.58 million baht as collateral. The department will receive a total of 1.47 billion baht from the concession.

Sermsin Samalapa, the president and chief executive of N-Park, said this was the first step to show that the consortium was seriously committed to the hotel development. The three parties helped contribute the guaranteed money.

``Many banks are showing interests to provide us a syndicated loan to finance the hotel development. We are in talks with them, negotiating for the best repayment terms and interest rates,'' he claimed.

However, the shareholding structure of the group has not been concluded yet.

Mr Sermsin said N-Park would decide whether it would sell an 18.75% stake in Finansa Plc to raise more funds over the next two weeks.

Treasury Department chief Wisudhi Srisuphan said he was not worried about N-Park's cash-flow problems. In the worst case, the department already had a lot of cash and collateral from the consortium.

The N-Park-Amanresorts consortium will spend 152.8 million baht to move and provide new accommodation for officials who now stay on the Treasury Department's land.

Called the Aman Resort Bangkok, the development will cost one billion baht including the preservation of three heritage buildings, construction of a four-storey hotel building and a five-storey back-office building, and new accommodation for officials.

The luxury hotel with only 33 rooms is expected to open around the end of 2007. Applying for permission from related government agencies will take about six months and construction two years.

The average room rate will be about $800 per night and the project will break even in 10 years. Revenues from hotel rooms are projected at 220 million baht in the first year and 260 million baht in the second year.
Greg Sirois, executive director of Amanresorts, said participating in the Aman Resort Bangkok project would complete the investment picture for the group.

``We can't miss Bangkok because it's one of the great leisure destinations. We believe we can bring our customers, who are jet-setters, Hollywood stars, sports icons or business billionaires, to try new experiences at Aman Resort Bangkok,'' he said.

N-Park shares closed yesterday on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at one baht, down seven satang, in trade worth 254 million baht.

Source: Bangkokpost : May 11, 2005
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