Sahara clinches Rs5,500-cr debt deal for London, US hotels: report

08 Jun 2015


White knights Reuben brothers - David and Simon - have come to the rescue of jailed Sahara Group chief Subrato Roy, offering to take control of the Indian group's iconic Grosvenor House hotel in London and the two US properties - Plaza and Dream Downtown - in a $850-million (Rs5,500 crore) debt refinance deal, media reports said on Sunday.

The Reuben brothers have given Sahara a four-month extension to clear the loan, showing signs that the negotiations from inside Tihar Jail have finally yielded results.

The Reuben brothers, listed as the 80th-richest in the Forbes billionaire list, have agreed to refinance the $900-million (around Rs5,500-crore) loan taken from Bank of China, whose repayment terms Sahara and its jailed chief Subrata Roy had failed to meet.

Reuben Brothers, the UK-based investment firm, run by the Monaco-based billionaire Reuben brothers, has interests across property, technology, aerospace and race courses.

The Reuben brothers ''have taken control of the Grosvenor House in London and two other luxury hotels in New York through an $850-million debt deal,'' the Sunday Times reported.

''David and Simon Reuben, whose empire stretches from data centres to horse racing, clinched the purchase of two loans against the properties from Bank of China late last week,'' and they have given a four-month extension to the Sahara Group.

There was no official word from Sahara Group on the developments.

The Grosvenor House hotel was put on sale by lender Bank of China earlier this year after a 'technical default' by Sahara.

Sahara claims it has been servicing the Bank of China loan and the default in financial covenants is only technical in nature.

Grosvenor House, a landmark property on Park Lane, London, was designed by acclaimed architect Sir Edwin Lutyens. Sahara bought it in 2010.

It purchased the two US hotels in 2012 and the three hotels were acquired an estimated valuation of $1.55 billion.

Sahara Group has been trying to raise funds to secure the release of its chief Subrata Roy, who has been lodged in Tihar Jail for over a year, through monetisation of its various assets including the three overseas hotels.

Bank of China put Grosvenor House under ''administration'' early in March for recovery of its loans, while Deloitte and realty consultant JLL were mandated to find a buyer (See: Bank of China takes control of Sahara's Grosvenor House to recover loans).

Sahara Group had said that it was still working on a refinancing the transaction to repay the loans to Bank of China and regain control of the iconic property.

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