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Local bank facilitates US$60 million loan

 But such is the importance of the Four Seasons Resort and Private Residences project at Clearwater Bay to the Barbados economy, that the US$60 million loan that facilitated the resumption of the project made the front pages of the Barbados Nation, the Barbados Advocate and Barbados Today. Construction on the Four Seasons Barbados was suspended in February 2009 following the global financial crisis. Work on the five-star project—which comprises a 110-room hotel and 35 for-sale villas—is due to restart in January next year following last week’s signing ceremony between ANSA Merchant Bank and Paradise Beach Ltd.

Resumption of work on the beachside resort complex on 32 acres of land is expected to provide a significant flip to the Barbados economy as it is expected that up to 1,000 people will be employed on the project at its peak. The US$60 million loan was arranged by ANSA Merchant Bank, the locally listed investment bank, which is a subsidiary of the ANSA McAL Group. The loan is for 18 months at an interest rate of 6.75 per cent. The Government of Barbados agreed to guarantee the bridging finance loan in return for a 20 per cent stake in the project. Buyers of the project’s villas, priced at US$11 million to US$18 million, included former “American Idol” judge Simon Cowell and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber. Once construction on the project is up and running, the developers hope to resume sale of the villas and use that money to complete the construction of the hotel.

Gregory Hill, the ANSA Merchant executive who signed on behalf of the company, told Barbados Today: “The finalisation of the finance arrangement was “a watershed” given the importance of the project to Barbados. “In this particular transaction ANSA Merchant Bank played the role of lead arranger. The government of Barbados provided a guarantee and they put their faith and confidence in ANSA Merchant Bank to deliver on that mandate, to deliver the financing and to respect and honour the guarantee of the Government of Barbados, which represents a commitment on the people of Barbados. So we took that responsibility very seriously,” he stated. Barbados-based Consolidated Finance, which is also a subsidiary of ANSA McAL, will manage the disbursement of the US$60 million in a way, Hill said, “to ensure that all of the creditors are paid and that the management of all the cash flows coming in from the project will be managed expertly.”

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