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Developer seeks further delay for tardy casino complex in southern Vietnam

Thursday, April 18, 2019, 21:47 GMT+7
Developer seeks further delay for tardy casino complex in southern Vietnam
A five-star hotel, one of the components of the Grand Ho Tram Strip casino resort complex, is seen in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau. Photo: Dong Ha / Tuoi Tre

The developer of a casino resort project in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau is asking for another extension to the required completion date of the already-delayed complex due to low business efficiency.

In a written request sent to relevant agencies, Ho Tram Project Company (HTP), the developer of the Grand Ho Tram Strip, asked to delay the completion of the casino resort construction by five more years, until 2025.

The complex was originally expected to fully open its doors in 2014, according to the initial investment plan approved by the Vietnamese Ministry of Planning and Investment.

HTP managed to obtain a six-year extension when the 2014 deadline drew near, but now says it will not be able to finish the project by 2020.

The Ministry of Planning and Investment has responded to the request, saying that it is against the country’s investment laws to give the project another five-year extension, unless the developer obtains approval from the prime minister.

In the best-case scenario, HTP could be given a 24-month extension to complete the Grand Ho Tram Strip casino project, according to the ministry.

The Grand Ho Tram Strip opened in 2013, after finishing the first phase of its development.

At that time, the complex consisted of a 541-room five-star hotel, a casino, a world-class entertainment facility, restaurants, a high-tech meeting space, an exclusive VIP area, a championship golf course, and a variety of beach-front recreation activities.

The resort’s casino currently offers 90 game tables and 486 game machines.

According to a commitment between HTP and local authorities, the developer must finish the additional construction of 3,000 five-star hotel rooms by 2020 during the last phase of the project; otherwise, the number of game tables and machines permitted for use at its casino must be reduced.  

As there has been no progress in the completion of the additional hotel rooms, the planning and investment ministry has concluded that the project's pace is “slower than committed.”

According to an explanation for the delays given by the Ba Ria-Vung Tau People’s Committee, the Grand Ho Tram Strip casino complex suffered from low business efficiency in 2013-16, which generated unexpected costs and prompted the developer to adjust its development strategies of the whole project.

An audit of the resort from 2016 to 2017 showed that HTP accumulated losses of over US$300 million by the end of the period.

However, the developer said it has received financial support from Asian Coast Development (ACDL), which wholly owns HTP.

Moreover, the Canada-based parent company also plans to sell 62.8 percent of its stake in HTP to private equity investing firm Warburg Pincus in order to raise funds for the project.

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