The Cheque’s in the Post…

 

…is one of the oldest lies in the book. Since 2013, when the Bacolet Bay developers began dodging their contractual obligations and refusing to pay out interest payments, this has been a common refrain. We’re waiting for CBI approval…we’re waiting for construction to start…and most commonly, we are close to getting investment. We wonder what is happening to all those investors who have been close to providing funding and then apparently backing out? Anyway, here are all the times BB has been “close” to getting the funding it needs to pay us what we are owed…

21 December 2013

Chinese investors Touchstone pull out of the project, but it’s OK because “it does mean that the project will not be tied to the use of a Chinese construction company.” Even better – “Grenada is now well positioned to attract substantial investment and we feel strongly that the important market events occurring provide circumstances which ought to significantly enhance values to the benefit of our existing early purchasers.

Kash Lais is also excited by the withdrawal of a major investor: “We have recently been making a transition in our sales activity to create new sales propositions and reach new markets, which ultimately should lead to support for higher values for real estate in the Bacolet Bay resort.”

11 January 2014

Heather Bain assures me that everything is going to be OK. “The delay has been caused by delayed payment of funds due to BDF and in addition we are transitioning into the Citizenship by Investment Program and our Private Residence Club offering which has caused additional delays to revenues we would ordinarily expect to generate. However, we are working our way out of that and, as you will have seen, we are seeking to put the company in a position whereby, as soon as the project is approved under the Citizenship by Investment Program, we launch a sales program which, within a few months, should put the project on a much stronger footing. The Private Residence Club offering is also now out to market and the first sales are lined up. The combination of those events will enable the company to rapidly accelerate the delivery of the project and continue to make payments to you.

22 February 2014

Good news from Kash Lais – it’s just a ‘transitional period’, a phase they’re going through, and everything will be alright soon. “We are simply dealing with a transitional period following which payments to you will be bought up to date and we have previously noted that we will prioritise you in that process. There is no attempt to avoid meeting in full the payment arrangements to you they just have to be delayed, which I understand is frustrating but it will be addressed shortly.

27 March 2014

We are now in a position to resume payments and you will be paid in the next few days” says Kash Lais. This turns out to be 8 days, but on this occasion I did actually get paid.

12 December 2014

In an official purchaser update, after several pages of “good” news, we are told payments are ceasing permanently because they can’t afford them, but as usual it’s OK because investment is coming soon. “We appreciate the frustration of all purchasers in relation to the continuing delay in completion of the project. This has been caused by unanticipated delays in securing the finance required to fund the vertical construction of properties. We have retained the support of the project’s capital investors (who have a first charge over the project site). They have to date accepted that if all interested parties continue to stand by the project, the necessary finance will ultimately be obtained, the project will be built out and (because of the quality of the project’s design, its location and the qualities of Grenada) will be a success.”

14 July 2015

The Financial Risk Committee ride in to save the day. “Whilst we are not permitted to make any formal promotion of Grenada’s CBI or the Bacolet Bay project in the context of CBI, we have, as previously reported, been developing the project’s network of contacts and routes to market for this type of product.  We are therefore in a position to take product to market as soon as final approval is secured and are confident about the opportunity and our ability to achieve volume sales.” Take product to market? Eh? So what did I buy then?

22 August 2015

Michael Gunn has the bucket out. “We are in the process of collecting in money from investors.  Upon receipt of funds we will make payment to bring you up to date.” Yay! However, there’s a proviso – Michael needs me to send over proof of ID, even though I supplied this when I originally invested. “The monies are being held in a trustee account. I am afraid that they require one certified proof of identification (copy passport) and one proof of residence (utility bill within last 3 months), in accordance with the certification requirements below.  Are you kindly able to provide this documentation?

4 September 2015

I send Michael the documents. Unfortunately, he decides to move the goalposts again. “Unfortunately the documents need to be certified in order to meet anti money laundering requirements, a matter of law which is beyond our control.” Couldn’t possibly do anything illegal could we.

26 September 2015

Kash is excited again. “We are working extremely hard to put the project on track, to look after your interest and those of the other stakeholders in the project. We genuinely intend to do right by you, but the process for achieving that is not as straightforward as you would like. As mentioned previously we have appointed a finance & risk committee to help us with moving the project forward and we are making some progress in that regard. Once we do so we will happily seek to arrange your exit through the sale of your fraction. We are meeting with the FRC on Tuesday and will revert to you following that meeting.

23 December 2015

Exciting times for the project, as Heather confirms that there is “genuine activity”: “We are advised that the CBI Committee has referred the matter to Government level for further feedback. Whilst we would have liked to have reached a conclusion before the end of the year there is genuine activity in place between BDF, the FRC and the CBI Committee.

29 January 2016

More blind optimism from the FRC. “We consider there to be good prospects that, if approved under CBI, the Project can progress to full delivery with liquidity for all involved. This would benefit all stakeholders in the Project, including all purchasers.”

24 January 2017

Joachim Fleury of the FRC thinks we’ll “get there eventually”, and it must be legit because he’s got a LinkedIn account: “Speaking for the FRC, the other two members and I have more than US$1 million invested in this project between us – money we all earned during our professional careers, which are detailed on LinkedIn and other public platforms. For myself, a large part of my investment is as a purchaser, like you, and hence my interests and yours are largely aligned. We are doing what we can to get the project realised, but this taking a lot more time than we would all like. That said, we are confident that we will get there eventually and each of us has recently made an additional cash investment to keep the company operational. None of us has ever received any money out of the company.”

5 July 2017

CBI approval is granted and the directors get the champers out. “We are very pleased to report that BDF has obtained approval of the Project under Grenada’s Citizenship by Investment Program (“CBI”). As previously advised, we consider this to present a significant opportunity for the project.  In the continued absence of development finance for projects of this nature, sales under CBI create the opportunity to secure capital to finance development activity. Broadly, sales under CBI involve payment of a minimum US$300,000 by purchasers of property into an escrow account.  Monies can then be drawn down from that account against the cost of construction of units, infrastructure etc.

7 December 2017

Michael Gunn actually agrees to refund my investment and signs a contract to this effect. “I can agree that the deposit is paid by 7 December 2018 and the uplift by December 2019 (originally it was to be towards the end of phase 1A.  Penalty clause of 5%pa for late payment on both.” Weeheeeyyyy!

3 August 2018

As usual BDF is waiting for funds from investors, but they’re still going to pay me! “There has been delay in progressing matters because of lack of finance to continue the original mobilisation activity started in November. However, we met again with a group of the investors and they committed in principle to put in more money to finance final mobilisation and the construction of several units.  Their final commitment should be made within the week or so.  We will then immediately commence  works on site.  This is a vital pre-requirement to successful CBI sales.  Kash Lais is going back out to Hong Kong next week.  The agents / middle men network that we are speaking to, will launch sales when we can confirm that there is, or about to be, construction activity on site.

You are in a priority position.  I therefore anticipate that we will be able to meet the December date.”

19 November 2018

Joachim Fleury does the good news/bad news routine. As usual they are “closing in on funds”, but I won’t be seeing any of ’em. “We have been in extensive contact recently with the investors that have provided the equity to Bacolet (so not the purchasers of units, although some people fit in both camps, including myself). The good news is that we are closing in on raising the funds that will enable BDF to start construction on site, initially of two one bed villas and possibly one or a couple of two bed villas as well. Once that activity starts, sales under the CBI program can start and this will then act as a propeller for the project as a whole. We should know before Christmas if the fundraising is successful (we are about ¾ of the way there).

The other side of the coin is that the company does not have funds today to repay any purchasers or indeed pay anything except the absolutely essential. Assuming that construction does start in the next few months, however, your unit could then also be built – or there may be a way in which you could be bought out, if your unit could be sold under the CBI program instead, but this is something that would need to be looked into.”

20 November 2018

Michael doesn’t understand what a contract is. “It has the effect of putting you at the front of the queue because, with others, we have been able to agree a longstop that simply brings the re-sale agreement to an end.  We have many other purchasers and investors whose interests we are seeking to protect, it was reasonable to agree to put you to the front of the queue because of the pressure that you have applied.  As soon as the company has money that can be deployed to do so, it is therefore my intention that you should be paid.

The cheque is clearly still in the post…

 

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