LONDON -- Privately owned ResidenSea postponed for three months a
stock issue to raise more than one-third of the $545 million it
needs to fund the world's first floating ownership resort.
But company spokesman Bryn Freberg told Travel Weekly he still
expected the 86,000-ton ship, World of ResidenSea, to be delivered
on April 30, 2001 -- the original contract date.
He denied reports circulating in Oslo, Norway, that the project
was at the point of collapse. "We will not be filing for bankruptcy
tomorrow or in the foreseeable future," he said.
ResidenSea was scheduled to raise $190 million on the Oslo stock
market by June 30, but because share prices have dipped sharply
this deadline has been delayed until Sept. 30.
Freberg said it was possible the firm would go to the U.S. to
raise some of the cash. "Perhaps it was wrong to try to raise all
the cash in Oslo," he said.
He disclosed that the company had completed $275 million worth
of debt financing out of a total of $375 million. Thus far, 68
apartments on the ship have been sold for a total of $130 million,
and another 17, worth $50 million, have been reserved. There have
been no cancellations so far in what is the first ship in the
cruise industry to sell rather than rent cabins.
The $545 million price tag makes it the most expensive cruise
ship ever built. In all, ResidenSea has 286 apartments to sell at
prices ranging from $1.5 million to $6.6 million each.
The order was placed with German shipyard Howaldtswerke Deutsche
Werft at the beginning of May. It is thought unlikely that this
latest setback will influence the shipyard, which is eager to get
back into passenger shipbuilding.