“We’re not desperate to sell the Marriott” – VP Jagdeo reiterates

– says “It’s fine” if sale does not go through, no rush to retender

Vice President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

The Guyana Government is not in a rush to sell the Marriott Hotel, with Vice President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo reiterating that there is no urgency in getting rid of this ‘valuable’ state asset.
In May 2023, United States-based X, LLC emerged as the successful bidder with a US$90 million proposal to buy the Marriott Hotel, located in Kingston, Georgetown. Apart from X, LLC, the only other company that submitted a proposal in the second bidding process was Integrated Group Guyana Inc., which had put in a US$86.1 million offer to buy the hotel.
Government had chosen the higher bidder to sell the hotel to. However, the company’s owner, Egyptian-born American businessman Ramy El-Batrawi, suddenly passed away in April this year. On Thursday, VP Jagdeo ruled out the deal with the US company going through, explaining that it was El-Batrawi himself who was pushing to buy the hotel.
The Vice President had previously indicated that the current intention is to approach the second-ranked bidder to see if they were still interested in buying the hotel. However, the Vice President could not say whether the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) has already engaged Integrated Group Guyana Inc., and efforts by Guyana Times to ascertain this have proven futile.

Marriott Hotel in Kingston, Georgetown

Jagdeo has contended, “We’re not desperate to sell the Marriott. So, if the second offer is concluded…and if it doesn’t go through, it’s fine [either way]. The Marriott is still there, and 100 per cent owned by the Government of Guyana…”
Asked whether Government plans to retender the hotel, the Vice President responded in the negative.
“There is no urgency in any of these matters. It’s a state asset, and it’s there… It has great value, and I’m so pleased that we spent [over] US$50 million and we got that offer of nearly US$90 million,” he posited.
The Guyana Marriott Hotel, which was opened in 2015, was constructed to the tune of US$58 million. A feasibility study conducted by Miami-based firm HVS Consulting back in 2010 had outlined that the Marriott Hotel is likely to be sold ten years after it has become operational at some US$76.1 million.
In a notice back in December 2022, NICIL announced its intention to sell the state’s shares in Atlantic Hotels Incorporated (AHI), the state-owned holding company for the Marriott Hotel.
AHI is the NICIL special purpose company that fully owns the 197-room hotel, whose financing structure had depended on a casino and entertainment centre to make enough money to repay up to US$30 million in debts to the banks and other creditors.
However, those add-ons to the hotel have been scrapped.
The hotel was opened in 2015, the same year ExxonMobil first found oil in Guyana’s waters, and has since gone on to play an important part in Guyana’s developing oil and gas sector. It is used to accommodate local and overseas offshore workers, as well as serve as a prime venue to host numerous private and state-sponsored events.
It was against this backdrop that Government had argued that now was the right time to sell the hotel, which is currently operating at a profit even without the casino and entertainment centre add-ons. It said selling the Marriott Hotel now would bring in “maximum value” to the state, which could go towards triggering other investments in the country.
During the initial bidding round early last year, X, LLC had submitted the highest bid of US$65 million. Among the other bidders were Pegasus Hotel Guyana, which bid at US$55.5 million; Georgetown Investments and Management Services Inc, which bid at US$50M; Muneshwers Ltd, which bid at US$25 million; Integrated Group Guyana Inc, which bid at US$55 million; and NCB Capital Markets Limited, which bid at US$33 million.
In April 2023, the Guyana Government said the bids received were “too low”, and decided not to pursue any of them. NICIL then wrote the six companies, informing them that a base price of US$85 million was set, and, as such, recommended that they resubmit bids reflecting this new figure.
However, only two of the six companies responded by the May 16, 2023 deadline. New offers were received from X, LLC at US$90 million and Integrated Group Guyana Inc. at US$86.1 million.
After an assessment of these two bidders, the decision was taken to go ahead with El-Batrawi’s US$90 million bid.
The US company had since been in negotiations with the Government through NICIL, and had already ironed out the sale terms and conditions. In March this year, El-Batrawi told local newspaper Stabroek News that he would be in Guyana in April to “conclude the deal.” However, the businessman passed away on Tuesday, April 23, at the age of 63.