By Citizens in Defence of Grenada’s Lands and Heritage
As usual, Citizens in Defence of Grenada’s Lands and Heritage continues to monitor the performance and developments of the Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, given that a significant national asset, the Lagoon, is under its control and the Company has also laid claim to the Lagoon Park. We are still seeking answers. Where is the Original Deed of Release of October 5th, 2006 which facilitated the transfer of the people’s property for EC$1.00 to Ambassador Peter De Savary’s Port Louis but was not recorded country’s Deeds and Lands Registry?
In “keeping an eye” on the Company, we have looked at the 2012 Interim and Annual Reports which were accessed from the Camper and Nicholsons Marinas website http://www.cnmarinas.com/marina-investments/full-list-financial-reports. We have also perused various news articles, nationally and internationally. As we have been doing since 2009, we share the information that has stood out for us and which, in our opinion, may be of particular interest to Grenada.
1. Citizenship by Investment and Port Louis Maritime Village:
We have recently noted that the Port Louis Maritime Village is being advertised as an “approved project” under the proposed Citizen by Investment programme. Does this include plans for the Lagoon Park? Will Grenadian citizenships and passports be sold to undertake developments which will deprive we the people of the use of our Lagoon Park? We have also read of plans to expand the number of berths to 400. In what space are all of the additional berths to be accommodated?
The following links are instructive:
- http://www.robin-paterson.com/media/badimages/DSC00068.jpg: This link gives an impression of the Port Louis Maritime Village. We the people can judge for ourselves. Note that the marketing partner of Peter DeSavary is Robin Paterson. Remember him of the Cinnamon 88 Mt. Hartman-Hog Island fame?
- http://www.cnmarinas.com/assets/files/Brochures/PLM.pdf: A Port Louis Marina brochure, available at this site, advises as follows, “Special terms are available for owners who purchase a villa lot and marina berth together. Lot prices range from USD500.000 USD$10 million…Prices for completed apartments starting at USD650,000. How much did Peter DeSavary’s Port Louis pay for the transfer of the people’s property? Was it EC$1.00? Did the Government of Grenada issue special bonds to facilitate payment to Viktor Kozeny’s Blue Lagoon, transferred to Poole Capital transferred to Port Louis? Was it US$2.9 million?
- http://www.portlouisgrenada.com/images/PortLouis_SITE_enlarge.pdf: The site plan accessed via this link identifies waterfront cottages on the Lagoon Park. According to the plan, the following developments are planned for the Mt. Pandy beach side: – club/fractional ownership or whole ownership and Amalifi penthouses. On the area of reclaimed land under the Islander Cliff, there is also a jetty. Does the location of this jetty suggest that Ambassador DeSavary has plans for the relocation of Grenada’s commercial port?
2. Threatened Legal Action against GoG:
A significant happening in 2012 which did not find its way to the Company’s reports was that Camper & Nicholsons threatened legal action against the Government of Grenada (then National Democratic Congress administration), citing breaches of a January 11th, 2008 Project Agreement and Lease Agreement.This news made its way to the local papers just prior to the 2013 general elections. Citizens is unaware of whether and how the matter has been settled. Citizens would have welcomed legal action. It would have provided the opportunity for MATERIAL DISCLOSURES and could have shed some light on many of the vexing, unanswered questions in respect of that EC$1.00 transaction pertaining to the people’s property – Islander Hill, Ballast Ground, Lagoon Park and the Lagoon.
2.1. Claims for Compensation:
Alleging breaches, a letter of July 12th, 2012 from the company’s attorneys made claims for compensation in respect of the following:
- Compensation re Connection to Sewer System:
- Costs incurred by the company to date re waste collection
- Rebates on the following:
- VAT on indirect costs such as paper, toilet cleaning supplies etc.
- Stamp tax on its revenue
- Stamp duty, sales taxes, taxes re receipts of rents and profits from land in the hands of the landowner and/or subsequent purchasers.
- Customs Service Charges levied on “consumables” e.g. customs service charges on flags and uniforms
Among other claims/requests made by the company were the following:
- Application of the fiscal incentives to TUI Marine: The company claimed that the fiscal incentives also apply to TUI Marine, which was “specifically set up to operate the yacht charter side of the marina”. This appeared to read a little differently from the 2010 announcement which advised that CNMI had contracted with the TUI Marine for the charter operator The Moorings, to base its southern Caribbean operation in Camper & Nicholsons’ Port Louis Marina.
- Confirmation of its ENTITLEMENT(?) to reclaim the area adjoining the Lagoon park and
- Request for a 99-year lease of the reclaimed land.
Please note that we the people are expected to pay VAT. We even pay VAT on medication!! Camper & Nicholsons pays approximately TEN CENTS per square metre of lettable berth area and charges USD2,000 per square metre for berth rental. How much does it pay for water bought from NAWASA? How much does it sell that water for?
3. Change in Management:
Most significant during 2012 was the change in the management of the Company.
- Nick Maris Fired: Nick Maris was relieved of all directorships and positions that he held with the Company and Group. According to the Annual Report 2012, Mr. Maris was given notice of the termination of his employment on 22 November 2012 and he was placed on “gardening leave”.
Recall that it seemed as if Camper & Nicholsons Marina Investments almost equalled Nick Maris:
- Management Group: He was the Chairman and CEO of the Investment Advisor (Camper & Nicholsons Marinas International) and the Manager (Marina Management International Ltd.) – both of which were “internalized” by the Company in 2008.
- The Company’s Indebtedness: One can conclude that Nick Maris financed internalization. In December 2008, Maris Marine Holdings (of which Nick Maris has controlling interests) loaned the Company Euros 1,502,000 to acquire the issued share capitals of the Manager (Marina Management International Ltd) and Camper & Nicholsons Marina Holdings, the holding company of the Investment Advisor.
- Shareholder and Director: In addition, Mr. Maris was a significant shareholder and director of a number of subsidiary companies making up the Group.
- New CEO Appointed: One, Clive Whiley who was representing joint venture partner First Eastern Marina Investments on the Board of Directors was appointed the CEO.
Is this one more chapter in the saga of the people’s property? We will know in the FULLNESS of time!
2. Port Louis Marina:
The Annual Report 2012 provided the following information on the performance of the Port Louis marina:
- Record Summer 2012: It was a record summer with more cruising boats selecting the marina as their choice location.
- Increase in Marina Operating Revenues: Marina operating revenues increased by 27% to Euro 1.6 million (2011: €1.2 m.)
- Increase in Annual Berthing Contract Revenues: There was a 75% increase in annual berthing contract revenues.
- Berth Sales: There were two small berth sales of Euros 0.1 million associated with local property sales.
- Caribbean Property Market: The report noted that the property market in the Caribbean remains difficult so that further berth sales would most likely depend on an improvement of the market conditions.
- Non-Cash Asset Impairment Charges: A non-cash impairment charge of Euros 3.8 million (2011: 10.0m) was applied to Port Louis marina. Note 13 of the Annual Accounts noted that there were low levels of superyacht berth sales and continued slow take-up of annual berthing contracts and a generally weak economic climate. Thus the book value of the asset had to be adjusted in keeping with the CBRE end of year valuation.
3. Camper and Nicholsons Marina Holdings and Goodwill:
- The goodwill note explains, ‘The Company commissions bi-annual professional valuations of the marinas in which it has a financial interests and reviews the carrying value of marina-related goodwill by reference to those valuations…”
- While the 2012 Annual Report goodwill explanatory note makes reference to Grand Harbour Marina and to Cesme, it does not make any specific reference to valuation of the Port Louis Marina notwithstanding that valuations of all the marinas were carried out as stated on page 8 of the report. It is also noted that even though the Annual 2009 Report advised of the dissolution of Camper & Nicholsons Holdings effective December 31st, 2009, goodwill continues to be carried by the company in the 2012 Annual Report.
Around September 2012, the Company advertised a special “two berths for one purchase” offer on the sale of superyacht berths, twinning berths in Grand Harbour Marina in Malta and Port Louis marina in Grenada.
Citizens notes that in February 2013, under the new management, the offer twinned berths from 30m to 60m at Port Louis Marina, Grenada and Porto San Rocco, Italy – “Save with Camper & Nicholsons – two superyacht berths for the price of one” – was publicized on the website, www.cnmarinas.com.
5. Fundraising and the Bank of Nova Scotia Loan:
In March 2013, the Company proposed to raise £4 million by the offer of new ordinary shares: – subscription by First Eastern Holdings for £1m, and £3m Open Offer to Qualifying Shareholders fully underwritten by First Eastern Holdings. According to the circular, the fundraising was intended to ensure that:
- The Company had sufficient funds to facilitate the removal of the Debt Service Coverage Ratio covenant on the Scotia Bank loan to Camper & Nicholsons Grenada Ltd.;
- To meet loan capital repayments as they fell due in both 2013 and 2014; and
- Provide general working capital as the Company moves towards trading on a positive operating cash-flow basis in 2013, without the need for berth sales.
6. Changes in Shareholders:
- First Eastern: As a result of the fundraising, companies associated with joint venture partner, First Eastern, are now the majority shareholders of Camper & Nicholsons Marina Investments. The company is based in Hong Kong and one, Mr. Victor L.L. Chu is the Chairman and CEO at First Eastern.
- Shareholders: The distribution of shares among the principal shareholders of Camper & Nicholsons Marina Investments was as follows:
- First Eastern Marina Investments – 23.32%
- First Eastern(Holdings) – 25%
- Richard Griffiths – 6.07%
- Nicholas Maris – 5.86%
6. Points to Ponder:
- Who Benefitted/Impact on the Economy: It would seem that 2012 was a reasonably good year for the Port Louis marina. The question for Grenada is what was the impact of Port Louis’ trading on the economy generally? How were the benefits accruing to marina’s operations distributed to the local economy?
- Caribbean Property Market: Noting the observations about a difficult Caribbean property market, what are the implications for Grenada’s continuing emphasis on real estate tourism?
- Port Louis Maritime Village and the Grenada Port: What are the implications for the Grenada Port given that the site plans for the Port Louis Maritime village show an expansion of the reclaimed area and a jetty which would undoubtedly affect the channel?
- Lagoon Park: Is the Lagoon Park under threat?
- Citizenship by Investment: Does Amb. DeSavary intend to realize HIS vision, plans and PROFITS with the sale of OUR citizenship and passports while dislocating port operations and denying we the people of the right to our assets such as the Lagoon Park?
Citizens in Defence of Grenada’s Lands and Heritage urges we the people to “mind our business” and to be vigilant in the protection of OUR PROPERTY.