The chairman of the United Micronesia Development Association Inc. yesterday disclosed that all its stake in Palms Resort Saipan has been sold through an asset sale in the tune of $20 million.
UMDA chair Jose Lifoifoi confirmed to Saipan Tribune yesterday that the hotel's new owner, E Land Park, also absorbed Palm Resort's engineers and maintenance staff who are currently taking care of the facility.
Lifoifoi described the “negotiations” as not easy as it took several months to finalize.
When asked about how the asset sale decision was reached by the association, Lifoifoi admitted that despite aggressive efforts to find investor-partners to continue the planned renovation, UMDA failed to get potential partners.
UMDA, he admitted, also has no expertise and experience in running a hotel which was also a factor in the board's decision.
For Lifoifoi, the asset sale was a sound decision for the association. The sale, he said, included Paupau Terrace, dormitories, and interest in Tropical Laundry & Linen Supply Co. Ltd.
It was in 2008 when UMDA acquired the former Nikko Hotel following the pullout of Japan Airlines operation in the CNMI and the continuous decline of tourists from the Japan market.
According to Lifoifoi, UMDA acquired the 313-room facility for $3 million and spent millions of dollars in numerous developments and renovations.
Lifoifoi said UMDA is confident that with the proven expertise of E Land Group, Palms Resort will be in a better direction and growth. E Land Park is one of the many subsidiaries of E Land Group of Companies operating in China and South Korea.
The chairman revealed that the new management will revitalize and renovate the hotel simultaneously with that of Pacific Islands Club Saipan, which was also acquired by E Land Park.
E Land Group acquired these two major resorts in Saipan to expand its international corporate hunt from fashion brands to resorts.
Based on online articles, E Land Group acquired Highla Condo in 2006 and Corea Condo in 2009, becoming Korea's No. 3 in the leisure business after Daemyung and Hanwha.
E Land Group also took over a theme park in Daegu and a company that operates boats on the Han River.
In the fashion business, E Land Group has acquired a number of foreign fashion brands in recent years including Italy's Mandarina Duck, Belfe, Peter Scott, and Lario.