Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Six Senses shelves plans to list on CSE

Six Senses Ahungalla to become Soneva Ahungalla

By Keishara Perera

 World-renowned leisure brand Six Senses is most likely to shelve its plans to list its regional business unit on the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE).

 This comes in the wake of the restructuring in the management of Six Senses consequent to the binding agreement Pegasus Capital Advisors, a US-based private equity fund manager entered with Six Senses resorts and spas, for the full acquisition of Six Senses.

 Deshan Pushparajah, Head of Corporate Finance at Capital Alliance, which was the issue mangers to the pre-IPO private placement which Six Senses was planning in July 2011, told Mirror Business that the proposed Rs.2 billion private placement too was unlikely to take place.

 “Following this restructuring at the top of Six Senses, it is highly unlikely now that there would be a listing of the company in Sri Lanka,” he said.

 It was in March 2011 that Six Senses revealed its plans for listing on the CSE and around 30 percent stake of the venture was expected to be offered via the IPO. Some estimated the value of the IPO to be between US$ 30 and US$ 40 million.

 Meanwhile, plans were also underway for Six Senses to make Sri Lanka its headquarters, owning and overseeing its leisure assets in the South Asian region.

 Also speaking to Mirror Business Aitken Spence Hotels Managing Director Malin Hapugoda revealed that Six Senses Ahungalla, which is a 50:50 venture between Six Senses and Aitken Spence, will now be carried forward as a Soneva project, following the acquisition of Six Senses by Pegasus Capital.

 “Shivdasani has indicated to us that he plans to continue the project as Soneva Ahungalla and it will be completed in late 2013 or early 2014,” he said.Located close to Aitken Spence’s existing Heritance Ahungalla property, this US$ 40 million hotel and spa project will encompass 10.5 acres of beachfront land and a 27-acre nearby island.In Sri Lanka, Six Senses jointly operates with blue-chip firm Aitken Spence as an affiliate.

 Last week it was announced that Pegasus Capital Advisors had struck a deal to buy Bangkok-based Six Senses Resorts and Spas brand, though real estate assets will remain with the founders.

 Through the purchase agreement, Pegasus will acquire all of Six Senses and Evason branded resort and spa management contracts and related intellectual properties rights and operate them under a new company.

Soneva brand and resorts, as well as the company’s real estate assets and holdings are not included in the transaction, and will continue to be led by founder Sonu Shivdasani, who will serve as Chairman and CEO and principal shareholder of The Soneva Group.

Six Senses is a resort and spa management and development company with properties in six countries including the Maldives, Thailand, Vietnam, Oman, Jordan and Spain.

 Its properties in the Maldives are branded as Soneva by Six Senses with the two properties being Soneva Fushi, Maldives and Soneva Gili, Maldives, whilst the third one, Six Senses Laamu opened last year.

Six Senses Laamu is the only resort on the virtually uncharted Laamu Atoll; 150km from the equator. The other brand is Evason. The group has seven resorts in Thailand, three in Vietnam, one each in Oman and Jordan.

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