Comporta sale contracts agreed
Cork queen Paula Amorim and French entrepreneur Claude Berda will officially take ownership of the Comporta resort next month.
In November, the offer made by the business partners was officially accepted by the assembly of shareholders Gesfimo and now the pair will have to negotiate access to the parcels of land and infrastructures.
In the last few days, the representatives of Paula Amorim and Claude Berda were negotiating the rights of way with the courts so that the two assets making up the resort will have independent access. These negotiations should be completed by April when the contracts will be signed and exchanged.
The consortium comprising Amorim Luxury (Paula Amorim) and Port Noir Investments (Claude Berda) accepted the negotiated price of €158.2 Million for the two assets that make up Herdade de Comporta.
Businesswoman Paula Amorim has classified Comporta as an important asset for Amorim Luxury “in its growth strategy and position as a luxury international quality Portuguese hotel and lifestyle brand through the concept JNcQuoi.
Work on the sites is expected to begin this year with the first phase development including 52 tourist villas in a €300 million investment.
The sale brings an end to a sad and sorry story of bankruptcy, alleged illegal irregularities and disputes with Grândola Council and the Commission for the Coordination and Development of the Alentejo.
It also involved accusations by one of the front-runner investors, French aristocrat Louis-Albert de Broglie that he was “pushed out of the race” to buy the assets.
He slammed the negotiations as having a “lack of transparency” and being undertaken in “an amateur fashion”.
Gesfimo, which was managing the sale process, had originally opted for the UK investor proposal Oakvest with the owners of steak house chain Portugália but the decision was thrown out by the Comporta General Assembly and its representatives Rioforte and Novo Banco which hold shares in the resort.
Herdade da Comporta had belonged to the Espírito Santo Group until its collapse in 2014. In 2003 the Espírito Santo family had decided to invest in the tourism potential of the site and surrounding area with plans to turn Comporta into an elite luxury resort destination.
With the collapse of the Espírito Santo Group in 2014, the Bank of Portugal took control of BES and announced its separation into a “good bank” and “bad bank”, declaring the Espírito Santo empire bankrupt, including Rio Forte, a holding that managed the non-financial assets of the group, including Comporta.
In 2015 two Americans and a private equity fund showed interest in the property but the seizure of impounding of goods and assets and freezing of bank accounts by the Public Ministry led the liquidators to a court in Luxemburg and the suspension of the sale.
In 2017 the entrepreneur Pedro Almeida signed a purchase contract with the real estate fund managing Herdade da Comporta which was in the hands of Rio Forte.
The deal failed, however, when the Public Ministry failed to lift the impounding order and refused to sanction the sale on the grounds of lack of transparency.
From 2018 the resort was subject to a three-horse race involving three consortiums to buy the land and rights to develop the project. Oakvest/Portúgalia bowed out, Louis-Albert de Broglie says he was forced out leaving Paula Amorim and Claude Berda as the only takers.