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Jungceylon white knight unmasked

Legacy Phuket Gazette



Jungceylon white knight unmasked | Thaiger

PHUKET CITY: The mystery white knight who has ridden to the rescue of the Jungceylon project was revealed this afternoon as Real Estate Capital Asia Partners (Recap), a private real estate investment fund owned by US and Singaporean interests.

Recap is a Cayman Islands-registered 50:50 joint venture between the Baupost Group of Boston, Massachusetts, and Singapore’s City Developments Ltd.

It was set up in 2004 with capital of US$220 million (8.8 billion baht) to make “investments in real estate-related assets, portfolios and companies in selected markets in Asia”.

Recap was an investor in the 2003 revival of the former Sofitel Riverside Hotel, a victim of the 1997 Asian economic crisis. The 32-floor, 550-room hotel reopened late last year as the Millennium Hilton Hotel.

The identity of the investor was revealed at a press conference called by Phuket Provincial Court Chief Judge Samrarn Yothayai, who has led months of mediation to break the deadlock that halted construction of Jungceylon.

Tanit Rattana-Kamchai, one of the two original major partners in Jungceylon, confirmed that the project will get going again now that the other major partner, Manit Udomkunnatum, has sold his 53% share in Jungceylon’s operating company, Phuket Square Co.

He declined to say how much of his share K. Manit had sold to Recap, and how much to other investors, but did reveal that the “leading administrator” of the board of Phuket Square will be MR Chatumongkol Sonakul, a former Governor of the Bank of Thailand.

K. Tanit said that construction of Jungceylon is 80% complete and discussions have already reopened with the main contractor, Powerline, with the aim of having the mega-mall open by November this year.

K. Tanit’s legal adviser, Sompob Wongchalor, said that 80% of the units in Jungceylon had been booked by tenants. He had discussed the future with “20 to 30” of these, he said, and all still want to move in; their only concern was when they could do so.

He added that Jungceylon is currently valued at 2.9 billion baht, and that a further 1.1 billion baht will be needed to complete the project, making a total of 4 billion baht.

K. Sompob said that the mediation to resolve the Jungceylon deadlock had taken a long time not because the dispute between the partners was difficult to resolve, but because there were many small details to iron out in order to protect the interests of tenants.

K. Tanit thanked Judge Samrarn. “The mediator needs to understand both sides, and to be very patient,” he said. Because of Judge Samrarn and his colleagues, he added, Jungceylon would soon be back on track.


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