LOLC in massive Maldives push

Tuesday, 20 September 2016 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • LOLC Group partners CMEC for Chinese giant’s first-ever JV in third party country
  • Creates 3 new islands in Maldives in pioneering concept
  • To build one 5-star and two 4-star resorts with 470 rooms
  • Acquires 2 more islands for 60-room 5-star and 120-room 4-star resorts

01-01LOLC Group Deputy Chairman Ishara Nanayakkara (right) and CMEC Deputy General Manager Qian Haojuan pop the champagne for a celebratory toast as Chinese Ambassador Extraordinary to the Maldives Wang Fukang looks on


By Marianne David

LOLC Group marked its first overseas leisure venture in the Maldives and also broke new ground in Sri Lanka-China relations last week, announcing its North Malé Resort Development project in partnership with State-owned China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC).

Presenting three brand new islands to CMEC last Thursday, LOLC announced the massive and innovative 50:50 JV project valued at $ 150 million just one day after work on the islands was completed by Dutch dredging and marine engineering giant Van Oord.

The venture is centred on a whole new concept, with the LOLC Group pioneering the creation of islands on lagoons in the Maldives.

The presentation ceremony headed by LOLC Group Deputy Chairman Ishara Nanayakkara took place on the islands in the presence of LOLC and CMEC senior management personnel, the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to the Maldives, China’s Ambassador to the Maldives, Chinese embassy and media personnel and the Daily FT from Sri Lanka.

The three islands created by the Group comprise 75 acres and when completed in September 2018 will comprise three properties – one five-star and two four-star – with a total of 470 rooms, 120 five-star rooms and 350 four-star rooms.

“What is amazing is when we wanted to come to Maldives, we looked at where to invest, where to have our islands, and we realised what nobody had realised – why not buy lagoons where the islands have not been formed and then reclaim these lands and create islands ourselves?” Nanayakkara told Daily FT.

“This is a unique concept; no one else thought of buying a lagoon where the water is around two to three feet deep and then creating an island,” added Nanayakkara.



That’s exactly what they did – and in record time no less. It took just 14 days of working round the clock for Van Oord, the world’s second largest dredging company, to finish work on the islands.

Given the first mover advantage the Group enjoyed, LOLC was able to acquire a lagoon in the prestigious North Malé Atoll for its project, which is just 35 minutes from the Male airport by speedboat.

Commenting on the decision to enter into a JV with CMEC for the project, Nanayakkara said: “We chose a JV due to the scale of the development and sheer size of the operation. Here we are looking at almost 500 rooms.”

“CMEC is a great and valuable partner. This is the first time a Chinese Government entity is partnering with a Sri Lankan company for a project in the Maldives of this magnitude and this innovative nature. This is a magical combination,” he added.

CMEC Deputy General Manager Qian Haojuan also hailed the partnership with LOLC, emphasising it was CMEC’s first partnership for investment with a Sri Lankan partner in a third party country. 

“We have had a long-term partnership with Sri Lanka and we have also worked with LOLC and Browns for a long time. It is amazing and beyond my imagination that they created such huge islands in just 15 days. We have already started on design and we want to start construction work in the first half of next year and finish with one-and-a-half years,” he told the Daily FT.

Addressing the gathering at the ceremony, Chinese Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Maldives Wang Fukang said: “I fully believe that this partnership will be very successful. China is a huge market for the Maldives, with around 350,000 Chinese tourists visiting Maldives each year. There is huge potential in the tourism market from China. When the development is completed, I believe the occupancy rate will be very high!”



Sri Lankan High Commissioner in the Maldives Major General (Rtd.) A.B. Thoradeniya expressed immense pleasure that the LOLC Group’s leisure sector was expanding out of Sri Lanka with the help of CMEC for “a very good investment” in the Maldivian tourist sector.

“I am proud to see this new link you have established in the chain of Sri Lanka’s hospitality trade in the Maldives. It is great that you’ll have entered the Maldives in a very big way and it is a great strength to the LOLC Group to have China on board,” he added.

Thoradeniya asserted that bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and Maldives would be further strengthened with mega projects such as this coming from Sri Lanka to Maldives and concluded by congratulating LOLC Group’s management and CMEC on the venture and wishing the project every success.

LOLC’s other projects in the Maldives are the Nasandhura Hotel and Apartment Complex project Malé (see box), proposed development of a 60-room five-star resort in Bodufaru and proposed development of a 120-room four-star resort in Bodufinolhu. 

In Sri Lanka, the Group plans to expand its portfolio by opening the 400-room five-star Riverina Resorts in Beruwala in March 2018 and 172-room Sheraton Turtle Beach Kosgoda in February 2017.

LOLC’s properties already in operation in Sri Lanka are Eden Resort & Spa on the Golden Mile in Beruwala with 158 rooms, Dickwella Resort & Spa with 76 rooms, The Paradise in Dambulla with 67 rooms, and The Calm in Passikudah with 76 rooms.

LOLC Group is carrying out the new projects in the Maldives and in Sri Lanka through Browns Investment, its leisure/investment arm.


LOLC bags prime Nasandhura property for huge mixed development


Having secured the most valuable prime land in the city of Malé, the location of the former Nasandhura Palace, LOLC has commenced construction of a massive mixed development project, with plans to open the new property in September 2018.

Speaking about the project, LOLC Group Deputy Chairman Ishara Nanayakkara said: “This is the most prime land and the most valuable property in Malé, right opposite the airport ferry jetty and the largest in terms of size. Our multi-storey property will be the largest mixed development property in Maldives.”

The Nasandhura Hotel and Apartment Complex project when completed will be the tallest building in Malé, featuring 15 floors plus one mezzanine floor. The development will feature a modern deluxe 135-room hotel with banqueting and conference facilities, a wellness spa and gym, a rooftop infinity pool, several restaurants and cafés, condominiums, a retail centre, offices and car and motorcycle parking and support services.