Business Times

Grand Oriental Hotel deal in fizzled out mode

The Finance Ministry has ordered a halt to the short-listing of applicants who have sent Expressions of Interests (EOIs) to the Bank of Ceylon (BOC) to manage BOC owned Grand Oriental Hotel (GOH) citing complaints received by the Ministry on something ‘fishy’ going on, according to GOH sources.

“There has been a complaint to the Ministry and they have requested the BOC to stop the short-listing process. The allegations are not clear, but apparently someone has complained to the Ministry saying that there are some underhand dealings taking place in this bidding process,” a GOH source told the Business Times.

He added that whether fresh bids are to be called has not been discussed, but the internal processes pertaining to valuations of GOH are being carried out. Both local and foreign firms, amongst them some big names have expressed interest to manage, according to him and 16 firms vied for this hotspot.

“All local conglomerates including John Keells Holdings, Aitken Spence and Cargills Ceylon are in the fray," the source said. Malaysian based Shangri-La, Raffles of Singapore, Australian chain Yates and Indian based Royal Orchids are amongst the international hotel chains which sent EOIs, according to him.

He said that Indian hotel chains, along with European ones have also sent their bids looking at a management contract deal with an investor who can spend for refurbishment on this 200-room heritage hotel.

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