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Posted: 23 May 2012 | 6:55 am
The dismissal of over 400 staff at the Evason Resort Phuket and Bon Island Resort has triggered concern in the island's hospitality sector.
With the 260-room hotel shutting down, expectations are that this is a lead-up for a transaction of the property, which is being vended by Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels.
While the property has been in the market for over a year, the triggering point of the sale was the take-over of the Six Senses Group by a private equity firm earlier this year. The sale of the hotel is by the existing Soneva group and not the the PE firm.
Both the Phuket and Pranburi properties of the chain are aged assets, which are out of synch with the groups other managed properties. Likewise its expected that a new buyer would negotiate a straight asset sale which is one that does not come with liabilities attached, hence existing employees are being legally settled based on Thai labor law.
Another acquisition the Laguna Beach Resort, which will undertake a massive upgrading program under new ownership, has parted with staff, as it will be closed for a sustained period of time.
The troubled Six-Senses chain is expected to see a series of sharp financial restructuring actions undertaken over the next few months.
As for the debate about employee rights, expect this to be played out in the media. A trend of sales of hotel assets in Phuket is likely to continue with industry expectations about a transaction of another west coast property looming.
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