The three-star Mint Hotel along the Kuala Lumpur-Seremban highway will undergo a RM6 million refurbishment and rebranding programme and re-open by the first half of next year.
Property tycoon Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew, the owner of Mint Hotel, said he is now drafting a business plan to turn the hotel around, which had ceased operations since February 2005.
This follows the conclusion of Lee's acquisition of Mint Hotel from Ambank (M) Bhd for RM45 million, which Lee said was not voluntary.
A sales and purchase agreement was signed with the liquidator, Ernst & Young, in June this year, via his privately-held firm Lambang Raya Sdn Bhd.
Property valuers have estimated Mint Hotel to be worth some RM23 million.
Ambank declined to comment.
The issue started when Jennico Associates Sdn Bhd, which is 50 per cent owned by Lee through Lambang Raya, was liquidated by a creditor in January 2000.
At that point, Jennico had already defaulted on a term loan of RM47 million granted by AmFinance Bhd in 1995, under the stewardship of Datuk Major (R) Zulkifli Abdul Mokti and KifliMokti Sdn Bhd, who owns the balance 50 per cent of the company.
Mint Hotel was then auctioned by Ernst & Young in 2005 and this attracted many bidders, including Lee, Lotus Family Group and Majestic Hotel.
They were keen to buy the 413-room hotel as it overlooks the Selangor Turf Club race course and is close to the Mines Exhibition Centre, Mines Wonderland, the Mines shopping mall and a golf course.
Business Times reported in August 2006 that Lotus won the bid to buy the hotel.
But a tussle broke as Lee claimed he was the rightful owner of the property.
According to Lee, he had submitted a bid for RM55 million for the hotel in October 2005 after being advised by AmBank, and a 5 per cent, or RM2.75 million, deposit was made to Ernst & Young.
Lee said his bid was based on a letter of undertaking he signed with Ambank in October 1995 stating that he will buy the hotel for RM55 million in the event of default of a loan taken by Jennico.
Source : BusinessTimes
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