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Dragon project is yet to roar into life   2010-05-10 - VIR

 Doubts have arisen again over Dragon Beach Group’s ability to financially float a multi-billion dollar recreation project in Quang Nam province.

The doubts follow the American investor’s recent failure to put down a timely deposit with provincial authorities. Quang Nam province People’s Committee recently asked Dragon Beach Group, a joint venture between Tano Capital LLC and Global D&C Inc, to deposit $4 million by May 15, 2010 for its $4.15 billion Dragon Beach Resort project.

If the investor does not meet the deadline, the authorities will revoke the project’s investment certificate and invite other investors to take up the reins. Tran Van Tri, director of the Quang Nam Department of Planning and Investment, said the investor had committed to building a resettlement area and leaving $4 million as a deposit within six months after receiving its investment certificate last September.

“It is now more than six months, but the investor has not dealt with land compensation, building resettlement areas or the deposit. That forces us to doubt the investor’s financial ability,” said Tri.

Dragon Beach Resort will cover 400 hectares in Dien Ban district of central Quang Nam province, closed to Hoi An old town and Danang City. Under the investment certificate, Dragon Beach Group plans to build nine hotels, each with 2,000 rooms, a 50ha entertainment park, an international convention centre, shopping centres, office buildings, apartments and villas.

Furthermore, each hotel will house an electronic gaming area to satisfy the recreation demands of foreign tourists.

Because the project covers a large site and impacts on thousands of residents, the provincial authorities did not want the project delayed, said Tri. He said the $4 million deposit would “demonstrate the seriousness of the investor in the project development,” adding that all investors investing in Quang Nam must adhere to the regulation.

The Dragon Beach Casino Resort project was first submitted in 2004 under the name of Vina Las Vegas, but the Government Office stipulated investors had to change the name. In 2008, Dragon Beach Group proposed the project with capital of around $8 billion. The large scale and lack of clear information from Dragon Beach Group raised suspicions about the investor’s financial capacity at that time.

In an email sent to VIR last week, Global C&D Inc. chairman and general director Pham Ich Tong said this project had gained the attention of many strong financial groups, implying that funding was not an issue for project development.

But, he said those groups were hesitant to release funds into the project because the government had yet to grant permission for full casino services at Dragon Beach Resort. 

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