London, June 7 (IANS) In a relief for the crisis-hit Sahara Group, the Indian company has sealed the sale of its Grosvenor House hotel here and two US properties — Plaza and Dream Downtown — in a $850 million debt refinance deal, a local media report said on Sunday.
The Sunday Times reported that, by the deal, which is worth the approximate equivalent of Rs.5,500 crore, Reuben brothers “have taken control of the Grosvenor House in London and two other luxury hotels in New York through a $850 million debt deal.”
“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,” it added.
The Bank of China put Grosvenor House under “administration” early in March for recovery of its loans.
The Sahara Group has been trying to raise funds through monetisation of its various assets, including these three overseas hotels to secure the release of chairman Subrata Roy, currently lodged in Tihar Jail in New Delhi for over a year.
Sahara had said at that time that the Grosvenor House hotel here was being “treated under default” because the Bank of China has declared “an event of default” on the US loans owing to some “technical breaches” in the financial covenants.
Sahara’s refinancing arrangements involved getting a fresh loan for the three properties. A part of the proceeds would go to the Bank of China for the release of Grosvenor House from “administration”, while the remainder could be deposited with markets regulator Sebi in Mumbai to secure release from jail of Roy and two other company officials.
Sahara acquired the three hotels between 2010-2012 at an estimated valuation of $1.55 billion.