From left: Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation Managing Director Abdulla Ziyath, Minister of Tourism Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Gafoor, Asia Capital Group CEO Stefan Abeyesinhe and Asia Leisure CEO Reyhan Morris
Asia Capital PLC (ACAP) yesterday announced plans for a resort project in the Maldives together with Belluna Co. Ltd. of Japan, with whom the company entered into a strategic partnership earlier this year.
The company stated that it has signed the lease and acquired the property and would handle all investment banking aspects of the project including deal structuring, capital raising and project management, providing Belluna with a holistic solution from island identification to the opening of the resort.
The project, which is expected to cost approximately $ 45 million, envisions the development of a 70-room luxury property on the island of Miriandhoo, situated in the Baa Atoll which forms part of Maldives’ West atoll chain. The atoll consists of 75 islands, of which eight islands have been developed as resorts that cater to both domestic and international markets. The Baa Atoll is known for being one of the main tourist destinations in the region.
The scope of the project covers developing accommodation and other associated facilities with particular attention being focused on guest services, staff facilities, and other related guest and infrastructure facilities which are expected from a star class resort. As part of the development of resort facilities, the project also entails building support service facilities in the resort for electricity generation and distribution.
The project also includes developing a desalination plant as well as channels to distribute fresh water, plumbing, developing sewerage lines and a waste management system. Further, storage facilities will be developed to accommodate the guest requirements such as developing a jetty area to access the hotel, an arrival jetty as well as a service jetty. Developing a fire fighting system, network television cabling and Wi-Fi facilities are also required. Several of the rooms will also feature a plunge pool.
Speaking about the potential for this project, Asia Capital PLC Group Chief Executive Officer Stefan Abeyesinhe said: “Given the rapid growth in tourist arrivals experienced by Asia and the Pacific as well as the Maldivian government’s support to investors, several new development projects have been initiated in the Maldives. However, the increase in bed capacity may not be adequate to cater to the faster growing tourism industry; hence, ample opportunities are available for new investments into the Maldivian tourism industry. Investing into Maldives is a new area of focus for Japanese investors and we are happy to partner with Belluna to assist them in this endeavour.”
International tourism set a new record by the end of 2014 as 1.1 billion international tourists were recorded as travelling the world. The target, 1.2 million arrivals by 2014, set for the Maldives was achieved as a total of 1,204,857 tourists visited the country during the year; an increase of 7.1% compared with that of 2013. The growth rate was in line with the South Asian tourist arrival rates and outpaced global tourist arrivals.
Established in 1968, Belluna Co., Ltd. operates in the mail order industry in seven segments: General Mail Order, Specialty Mail Order, Retail Store Sales, Solution, Finance, Property, and Other and is headquartered in Ageo, Japan. The driving force of Belluna’s success is its portfolio approach, which achieves a balance between growth and profitability. The company possesses a comprehensive database and other management resources that have been cultivated through its mail order business, and has expanded into related fields to realise steady and continuous growth.
Asia Capital PLC is the largest investment bank in Sri Lanka to be listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange. As a group, Asia Capital has identified strong potential in the property, leisure and real estate sectors and is focused on these avenues of growth. However, whilst focusing on the leisure sector, Asia Capital continues to maintain its strong footing in investment banking operations.