SuperClubs to cut tie with Boscobel

KINGSTON, Jamaica -- SuperClubs announced at the Jamaica Product Exchange here that it will sever its management contract for the 207-room Boscobel Beach resort near Ocho Rios effective July 4, citing the financial collapse of Jamaica Mutual Life Insurance Co., the company that owned it.

John Issa, SuperClubs chairman, said Boscobel Beach has been taken over by the bank that financed the hotel's construction, Kingston-based National Commercial Bank.

Issa said the bank "wishes to sell the hotel but will continue to operate it until [July 4] and has assured us that it will honor all commitments and reservations made by us on its behalf."

"The insurance company that owned Boscobel has been in difficulty for some years now. This prevented the much-needed investment in necessary refurbishing, upkeep and facilities," said Issa.

Asked if SuperClubs was considering buying Boscobel Beach -- it now owns 10% of the resort -- Issa responded, "Anything is possible."

Issa did not say what he considers a fair price for the hotel, although he admitted it would "carry a considerable financial burden because it needs a lot of work."

Issa said he has encouraged the bank that controls the resort to "announce its plans for Boscobel as soon as possible in order to keep it in operation and put an end to its uncertainty among the trade." Issa said he did not know what the bank had in store for Boscobel beyond July 4.

Kingston-based Jamaica Mutual Life Insurance Co. is the same company that owned a majority share of Hedonism II and Grand Lido Negril, both in Negril, and the Trelawney Beach Resort in Trelawney -- all three managed by SuperClubs.

SuperClubs recently paid $12.5 million for the remaining 50% of Hedonism II and Trelawney Beach that it didn't already own, plus another $4.5 million for an additional 16.5% stake in Grand Lido Negril, bringing its ownership in the resort to 50%.

In other SuperClubs news, Issa said the company has taken over its third golf course on Jamaica, the 18-hole Ironshore Golf Club in Montego Bay, which will be called the SuperClubs Golf Club -- Montego Bay when it is refurbished and opens by year's end.

In the last year, SuperClubs purchased a 30-acre beachfront site in St. Kitts, adjoining the golf course at Frigate Bay. The company expects to break ground there within the next 12 months on the 225-suite Grand Lido St. Kitts-Nevis, the second Grand Lido brand outside Jamaica.

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