Baha Mar developer’s bankruptcy case dismissed by U.S. judge

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Baha Mar Ltd., developer of the unfinished Baha Mar resort in the Bahamas, has failed in its attempt to seek bankruptcy protection in the U.S., as the case was thrown out by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware on Tuesday.

With the exception of one of Baha Mar Ltd.’s 15 related entities, Judge Kevin Carey granted the motions by China-owned CCA Bahamas Ltd. and the Export-Import Bank of China, the project’s general contractor and lender, respectively, to dismiss the bankruptcy filing.

Baha Mar Ltd., which filed for bankruptcy in late June, had hoped to operate under U.S. bankruptcy protection in order to finish the resort, which the developer says is 97% completed.

“We are continuing to do all we realistically can, including working with the provisional liquidators appointed by the Bahamian Supreme Court, to try to resolve the issues that have prevented Baha Mar from opening,” Baha Mar Ltd. said in a statement Tuesday, adding that it was “disappointed” by the court ruling.

The Bahamas government said it welcomed the decision. "The Bankruptcy Court agreed that the future of the Baha Mar resort should be determined in the proceedings in the Supreme Court of the Bahamas, in which Justice Winder has appointed provisional liquidators."

The developer earlier this month believed it may have received a reprieve of sorts after the Bahamas Supreme Court appointed a provisional liquidator to help oversee the stalled Baha Mar resort project. That liquidator was granted limited authority — it was ordered to preserve the developer’s assets instead of finding an alternative plan to complete the project — and the court set a hearing date for the government’s potential “winding down,” or taking control of the site, in early November.

Baha Mar Ltd. said at the time that it could be sufficient time to arrange for the project’s completion.

Baha Mar Ltd. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. in late June. The Bahamas refused to recognize the filing, leaving the developer vulnerable to its creditors. The Bahamas Supreme Court subsequently sought to have Baha Mar Ltd. removed from the project and replaced by a third-party liquidator.

Baha Mar Ltd. last month proposed pushing out CCA Bahamas, the developer’s largest creditor as well as the general contractor, as part of a restructuring plan. According to Baha Mar’s bankruptcy filing, CCA Bahamas is owed more than $72 million for work performed since February.

The five-hotel resort was slated to include the Baha Mar Casino & Hotel, plus Grand Hyatt, SLS Lux, Melia and Rosewood hotels. Rosewood last month put in a request to the Delaware bankruptcy court to void its Baha Mar licensing agreement.

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