NRN investor offers to buy Tiger Palace Resort in Bhairahawa for $33.9 millionThe 100-room property is the first integrated five-star casino resort in South Asia.
Non-resident Nepali Indra Bahadur Thapa has offered to buy the Tiger Palace Resort in Bhairahawa at an enterprise value of $33.9 million.
The owner, Australian-listed Silver Heritage Group, announced on July 31 that it had received a conditional, binding offer to acquire the casino resort. Thapa will pay $20 million in cash and take on a $13.9 million lending facility with a consortium of Nepali banks, the company said.
Silver Heritage revealed in May that it was scouting for prospective buyers for its Nepal operations following the sudden termination of a long-standing agreement to provide gaming management services at the Phoenix International Club in Vietnam.
Three Nepali business houses, Chaudhary Group, IME Group and Vishal Group, and Malaysian-based Thapa joined the fray to buy the resort after the Silver Heritage Group put it up for sale or partnership.
According to an anonymous source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Thapa is the richest Nepali living in Malaysia. He has multinational ventures, mostly interests in real estate, in the Middle East, Africa and other places.
The Silver Heritage Group has granted a 90-day period to Thapa which will commence on the date of payment of the deposit. The buyer has to deposit $3 million into an escrow account by August 15, after which time he will be given 30 days to conduct due diligence, the company said.
“The board of the company has granted the bidder an exclusive due diligence period of 90 days during or after which the bidder will seek to finalise terms with the company and then the board will present the final deal to the shareholders and the bondholders of the Australian listed entity for their separate and joint approval,” Mike Bolsover, managing director of Silver Heritage Group Limited, told the Post in a WhatsApp message.
He said that the shareholders themselves must either approve or disapprove the final deal. “And bondholder. At any time there is the option for the company to pay $300,000 break fee and call off the transaction.”
The Tiger Palace, according to Bolsover, has been receiving 15,000 visitors each month—the highest number of tourists to visit any hotel or resort in Nepal.
The 100-room property is the first integrated five-star casino resort in South Asia. Silver Heritage had planned to offer 400 guest rooms in the second phase. It was awarded a five-star rating by the Department of Tourism in November 2017.
Tiger Palace is spread over 15 bighas and features two villas, a gym, spa, swimming pools, restaurants and meeting and banquet facilities suitable for weddings. The resort has a 2,471 square-metre casino floor.
On July 5, Rupandehi District Court issued a temporary order against selling or building anything on the plot where the five-star Tiger Palace Resort, Bhairahawa stands, pending a full verdict on a writ petition alleging encroachment on public land.
Thaneshwor Ghimire, chairman of a water user group under the Bhairahawa-Lumbini Ground Water Irrigation Project, filed the writ demanding recovery of 9 katthas (3,205 square metres) of public land. Ghimire has accused the resort of encroaching on plots 120, 148, 152 and 190 belonging to a public canal, and plot 73 belonging to the government.
The court, however, has not issued any order barring the transfer of shares of the resort. Silver Heritage has said it is yet to see any court documents on alleged Tiger Palace land encroachment.
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