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中国企业深陷巴哈马“烂尾”度假村泥潭

更新时间:2016/2/4 10:28:16 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Bahamas Mega-Resort Stands Empty, Casualty of Dispute With Chinese Partners
中国企业深陷巴哈马“烂尾”度假村泥潭

NASSAU, the Bahamas — Trei Bethel had been looking for work in the Bahamas for about a year when he finally got a break: a coveted spot in a program that trained young Bahamians to work at Baha Mar, a $3.5 billion mega-resort nearing completion on Nassau’s white-sand Cable Beach.

巴哈马群岛拿骚——在巴哈马找了一年工作后,特雷·贝塞尔(Trei Bethel)终于时来运转。这个梦寐以求的机会就是巴哈-玛度假村(Baha Mar)的巴哈马年轻员工培训项目。在白沙无垠的凯布尔海滩,这座耗资35亿美元的巨型度假村已经临近竣工。

There, he said, he learned about fine wine and the choreography of five-star service. He saw the resort as a place of opportunity and stability in a difficult economy.

贝塞尔说,他在那里学习上等葡萄酒和精心周到的五星级服务。在低迷的经济环境下,他认为这座度假村提供了难得的机遇和稳定。

“They really put so much effort into the growth and development of us as young people,” said Mr. Bethel, now 20, who became a concierge at one of the resort’s four hotels.

“他们真的花了很大心思帮助我们这些年轻人成长和进步,”贝塞尔表示。现年20岁的他成了一名礼宾员,在度假村四家酒店中的一家工作。

But in October, Mr. Bethel lost his job along with 2,000 others, the casualties of a dispute between the resort’s developer and his Chinese partners that led to bankruptcy court. The falling-out has left Baha Mar at a standstill, fenced off at the end of a road that bears its name, more than a year after its original opening date.

但在10月,贝塞尔和其他两千人一起失去了工作。度假村的开发商和中国合伙人出现纠纷,闹上了破产法庭。这场分道扬镳导致项目陷入困顿,在原定的开业日期过去一年多后,以它的名字命名的马路的尽头,巴哈-玛依然紧闭着大门。

Baha Mar’s uncertain future points to the challenges China faces as it finances and builds large-scale construction projects overseas amid language and cultural barriers, lack of regulation and allegations of graft.

巴哈-玛未卜的命运,彰显出中国在海外投资和建设大型基建项目时遭遇的挑战:语言和文化障碍、缺乏监管以及面临贪污指控。

“The more problems there are and, in a way, the more media attention these problems attract, they erode positive attitudes towards Chinese presence in the region,” said Ariel C. Armony, director of the University Center for International Studies at the University of Pittsburgh, who has researched the perception of Chinese investment in the Americas.

“出现的问题越多,加上某种程度上,媒体对这些问题的关注越高,就会影响中国在该地区的正面形象,”匹兹堡大学国际研究中心(The University Center for International Studies)主任阿里埃尔·C·阿莫尼(Ariel C. Armony)表示,他对中国在美洲的投资形象进行过研究。

After losing its American backer during the financial crisis, Baha Mar was revived in 2009 by China Construction America, a Jersey City-based subsidiary of a Chinese state-owned construction company, the China State Construction Engineering Corporation. The company facilitated a $2.5 billion loan from the Export-Import Bank of China, a state-owned lender with which it has close ties, and invested $150 million for its own equity stake. In exchange, China Construction America would serve as the resort’s contractor, using Chinese workers.

在金融危机中失去美国投资人后,巴哈-玛依靠中建美国有限公司在2009年重焕生机。该公司是中国国有企业中国建筑工程总公司在美国泽西城创设的分公司。该公司促成了中国进出口银行的25亿美元贷款,后者是一家与中建公司有密切往来的国有银行;此外公司又投资1.5亿美元入股。作为交换,中建美国成为度假村的承建商,在项目中使用中国工人。

The rest of the financing came from Sarkis Izmirlian, the Swiss-born developer who conceived Baha Mar and invested $850 million.

其余资金来自瑞士开发商萨尔基斯·伊兹米尔利安(Sarkis Izmirlian),他作为巴哈-玛项目的提出者投资了8.5亿美元。

Since his project filed for bankruptcy last summer, there has been finger-pointing from all sides. But there is broad agreement on two points: Baha Mar is spectacular, and there is plenty of blame to go around for its failure to open.

自他的这个项目在去年夏天申请破产后,各方都在相互指责。但有两点没有异议:巴哈-玛十分壮观;没法开张的责任,谁也逃不了干系。

Critics say the resort was overly ambitious from the start and should have been built in phases. It combines four luxury hotels, the largest casino in the Caribbean region, a championship golf course, a 200,000-square-foot convention center and what is billed as the world’s largest collection of Bahamian art. The hotel chains Hyatt, Rosewood and SLS had signed on as partners.

有人批评度假村的建设从一开始就过于宏大,本应该分阶段完成。度假村拥有四座豪华酒店、在加勒比地区最大的赌场、锦标赛级高尔夫球场、20万平方英尺的会议中心,以及号称世界上最大的巴哈马艺术收藏。凯悦(Hyatt)、瑰丽(Rosewood)和SLS等酒店连锁已签约成为合作伙伴。

The Bahamas welcomed the investment, even moving the prime minister’s residence to provide a prime location for the resort.

这项投资是巴哈马所乐见的,甚至愿意搬迁总理府邸,为度假村腾出黄金地段。

But Baha Mar executives say that problems became evident when China Construction America, or C.C.A., missed several construction deadlines, including a second attempted opening in March for which the hotels had already started taking reservations. The company then walked away from the job, officials say, leaving the resort staffed to run hotels that weren’t finished.

但巴哈-玛项目管理层说,在中建美国多次未能在最后期限前完工后,问题开始变得明显起来,这其中包括第二次试图在3月开业,为此酒店已经开始接受预定。官员称,而后该公司就撒手不管了,让已经配备员工的度假村自行打理尚未完工的酒店。

In a statement in July, it called the developer’s accusations “misleading and dishonest,” saying Baha Mar’s “failure to secure adequate financing and its mismanagement” led to construction delays. The company did not respond to requests for further comment.

在7月的一份声明中,中建美国称开发商的指责“存在误导性且缺乏诚信”,并称巴哈-玛“未能获得足够融资资金和对巴哈-玛度假项目设计管理不善”导致工程延期。公司没有回应进一步置评的请求。

The Export-Import Bank of China did not respond to a list of faxed questions.

中国进出口银行没有回应通过传真发出的一系列问题。

Unable to maintain the upkeep of a dormant mega-resort, Mr. Izmirlian filed for bankruptcy in Delaware in June. He declined to be interviewed for this article.

由于无力维持一座闲置的巨型度假村,伊兹米尔利安于6月在特拉华州申请破产。他拒绝就本文接受采访。

The United States case was dismissed in September because the Bahamian government refused to recognize it. The top court in the Bahamas, which has no bankruptcy law of its own, appointed provisional liquidators. After months of fruitless negotiations, the Export-Import Bank of China put the resort into receivership in November.

由于巴哈马政府拒绝承认,在美国的破产案被驳回。在没有破产法的巴哈马,最高法院指定了临时债务清算人。经过几个月徒劳的谈判,中国进出口银行在11月对度假村实施破产接管。

Since then the resort has received a $50 million loan from another Chinese state-owned company, the China Harbor Engineering Company, to help maintain the resort. Prime Minister Perry Christie of the Bahamas has said there are several potential buyers from China.

此后度假村得到了另一家中国国有企业中国港湾工程公司的5000万美元借款,用于度假村的维护。巴哈马总理佩里·克里斯蒂(Perry Christie)称,已经有多个中国买家对此有意。

For C.C.A., which celebrated its 30th anniversary last fall, Baha Mar was an opportunity to show what it could do as it tries to expand into Latin America and the Caribbean.

对去年秋天迎来创立30周年大庆的中建美国来说,在公司向拉美和加勒比海地区扩张之际,巴哈-玛项目本是一个展示其能力的机会。

In court filings, Baha Mar officials say C.C.A. failed to maintain adequate staffing, provide proper schedules or follow through on a promise to bring in partners with the experience needed to build such a complex project.

巴哈-玛官员在法庭文件中称,中建美国没能保持充足的人员配备,提供合理的日程安排,也没有根据之前的承诺,引入有建设复杂项目经验的合作伙伴。

“China State Construction never allocated the resources that were necessary to meet the deadlines of this project,” Stephen Wrinkle, former president of the Bahamian Contractors’ Association, said in a phone interview, using the name of C.C.A.’s parent company. “From Day 1 they never put the manpower, they never put the management, they never put the materials on site to finish on time.”

“中国建筑工程公司始终没有投入如期完成项目所需的资源,”前巴哈马承包商协会(Bahamian Contractors’ Association)会长史蒂芬·林克尔(Stephen Wrinkle)在接受电话采访时说,他使用的是中建美国母公司的名字。“他们从一开始就没有为了按时完成而投入人力,投入管理,没有把物料放到工地上。”

In court filings, C.C.A. countered that the developer had mismanaged the project, requesting multiple design changes that created cost overruns.

在法庭文件中,中建美国指出开发商对项目管理不善,提出了多个设计改动,导致成本超预算。

As evidence of poor construction quality, Baha Mar officials have cited an email from a Chinese subcontractor that appeared to have been accidentally shared with them. In it, he admonished two of his staff for using cheap material.

至于工程质量低劣方面的证据,巴哈-玛管理人员援引了一封中方承包商的电子邮件,似乎是无意中发到了他们手中。该承包商在信中对两名使用廉价材料的员工提出了警告。

“What’s wrong with you two! You can’t fake things in such an obvious way!” he wrote in Chinese, according to court records. “You’re going to get yourselves in trouble! If you want to do this, you must be careful!”

“你们两个怎么回事!作假不能这么明着来!”法庭记录中称他用中文写道。“你们这样要惹麻烦的!要这么干得小心着点!”

In an affidavit, the subcontractor said that the English translation of his email did not convey his intent and that “there is a conflict between American and Chinese culture and expressions.”

在一份书面证词中,该承包商说邮件的英文翻译没有准确表达他的意图,而且“美国和中国在文化和表达上有冲突”。

As the project went on, more subcontractors from the Bahamas, the United States and elsewhere were brought in to speed the process, said Dionisio D’Aguilar, who was a director at Baha Mar until the entire board resigned in November, including Mr. Izmirlian. The bankruptcy plan Baha Mar submitted called for C.C.A. to be removed from the project entirely.

前巴哈-玛项目董事——董事会已于11月全体辞职,包括伊兹米尔利安——迪奥尼西奥·迪阿圭拉(Dionisio D’Aguilar)说,随着项目的进行,更多来自巴哈马、美国及其他地方的承包商加入了进来,以加快工程进度。巴哈-玛提交的破产计划要求中建美国从该项目完全撤出。

“I have to believe that in the end the goings-on at Baha Mar have embarrassed them,” Mr. D’Aguilar said of C.C.A.

“我只能相信,在巴哈-玛的这些是非,最后让他们感到丢脸了,”迪阿圭拉这样评价中建美国。

The delays are an economic blow to the Bahamas, which expected the resort to generate a payroll equivalent to 12 percent of its gross domestic product. Bahamians who had returned home to join Baha Mar after working or studying overseas are now leaving again.

项目的延误对巴哈玛经济是一个打击,该国本预计这座度假村将产生相当于其国内生产总值12%的薪资。一些原本在海外工作或学习的巴哈马人为了这个项目回国,现在已经再次离开。

Locals had started or expanded small businesses in anticipation of the resort’s opening, “and those people are also left hung out to dry,” Mr. Wrinkle said. Bahamian contractors are owed an estimated $74 million by the resort.

当地人为了即将开业的度假村已经开办或拓展了一些小企业,“那些人也倒霉了,”林克尔说。度假村拖欠巴哈马承建商的钱款估计达到7400万美元。

Standard & Poor’s cited the Baha Mar impasse in its August decision to lower the Bahamas’ credit rating to one level above junk status, warning that further downgrades were possible depending on “the handling of the Baha Mar project.” And in December, the International Monetary Fund lowered the country’s growth forecast for 2016.

标准普尔(Standard & Poor’s)在8月决定将巴哈马的信用评级降至仅比“垃圾”高一级时,将巴哈-玛项目的僵局引为一个理由,并警告会否进行进一步降级取决于“巴哈-玛项目的处置”。12月,国际货币基金组织(International Monetary Fund)下调了该国的2016年发展预期。

Even if work at Baha Mar resumes, it could be another year or more before it opens. Rosewood has moved to terminate its license agreement with Baha Mar; SLS did not respond to requests for comment. Hyatt said it remained committed to the project.

即便巴哈-玛项目能恢复运行,也要再过一年甚至更久才能开业。瑰丽酒店已经着手终止给巴哈-玛的授权协议;SLS没有回应置评请求。凯悦则称依然对该项目有信心。

Mr. Bethel, the concierge, is holding out hope that he can return to Baha Mar once it opens and put what he learned into practice.

那位礼宾员贝塞尔依然希望有朝一日巴哈-玛开业后他会回去上班,让他学以致用。

“I have unfinished business there in terms of my career and where I want to get in life,” he said.

“那里有我事业上的一些未了的东西,我也要通过那里完成我的人生目标,”他说。

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