Tanoa Group Abandons Tonga’s International Dateline Hotel Renovation

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Fiji company pulls out of planned $9 million investment

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, April 1, 2014) – The Tanoa Hotel Group of Fiji has pulled out from its proposed take over of the International Dateline Hotel, Tatafu Moeaki, the CEO for the Ministry of Finance and National Planning told the Tonga Chamber of Commerce yesterday, March 31.

Moeaki did not elaborate on why the take-over negotiations came to a sudden end, other than to stress that the Tonga government did not revert over what it initially put on the negotiation table. He said that after a hand-shake with enthusiasm to move forward, the Tanoa Group had come back and said that they were pulling out.

Moeaki said that government, as the land owner, had offered a 75-year lease, and the Tanoa Group was willing to invest TOP$18 million [US$9 million] in renovating the property.

The hotel had been closed since February 28, to enable the Tanoa Group to start the $18 million pa'anga reconstruction work.

Moeaki said that the hotel would remain closed while negotiations would resume with the other bidders to take over the reconstruction and the running of the International Dateline Hotel. He said they would also be talking to the Tanoa Group.

During his presentation, for the members of the Tonga Chamber of Commerce, there was an assumption that the Tanoa Group was not happy with the government taxation regime, which discourages investments.

Lisiate 'Akolo, who was Tonga's Minister of Finance during the negotiation with the Tanoa Group, expressed his surprise that they had pulled out. He believed that there were only a few legal matters to be agreed on before a final agreement was to be signed, and he was disappointed that the Tanoa Group pulled out.

The International Dateline Hotel was established in 1966 on the Nuku'alofa seafront. It has 126 rooms.

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