Got $300m? Hayman Island’s all yours

Hayman Island has been put up for sale. Picture: Hayman.com.au

The Malaysian owners of Hayman Island have decided to quietly list the Queensland tourist destination, with price expectations of at least $300 million.

Badly damaged by Cyclone Debbie, the 160-room resort recently lost its high-profile luxury Middle Eastern operator One & Only, which had committed to the island in 2014 following an $80 million facelift.

Hayman Island has been ­offered to potential buyers over the past few weeks through veteran Queensland real estate agent Dan McVay, of McVay Real Estate, sources say.

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The buyer will need to be cashed up. Up to $80 million worth of repairs are needed for the resort, which Mulpha bought as part of a package of four hotels and islands from the Principal Hotel Group in 2004. Like other Whitsundays resorts, Hayman Island sustained extensive wind and water damage from Cyclone Debbie in March.

It is understood the resort’s fin­ancial performance, which had never been strong because of its small scale, had started to improve before the cyclone. The resort, which employs 1200 staff, will remain closed until the refurbishment is completed, with the scope of works still being decided.

Tourism sources say the billionaire Oatley family, owners of Hamilton Island nearby, could be interested in Hayman because of its infrastructure, and the family is keen to develop another high-end resort similar to its opulent Qualia resort.

Hayman Island Queensland

Hayman Island was hit hard by Cyclone Debbie in March. Picture: hayman.com.au

However, Sandy Oatley declined to comment. “Hamilton Island does not comment on rumour or speculation regarding our interests or business strategy,” a Hamilton Island spokesman says in a statement.

Along with the search for a buyer for Hayman, Mulpha is also looking for a new operator for the island to replace One & Only.

Mulpha has also tendered the management rights to its four key Australian tourist properties: Hayman, the Intercontinental Hotel in Sydney, Intercontinental Sanctuary Cove Resort, and the Rydges Esplanade Cairns Resort. Mulpha has appointed Colliers International to run the operator selection process.

International operators are expected to vie for the chance to operate the resort amid a rise in the arrival of Asian tourists to Queensland. Tourist arrivals from China have risen 20 per cent in the past year. Shangri-la, Accor, Marriott and Four Seasons as well as several other global luxury brands are understood to have inspected Hayman.

Tourist operators that inspected Hayman Island included Singapore’s luxury Alila Group, which operates resorts in Bali, Java, India, Oman and China.

Mulpha’s Australian chief executive, Greg Shaw, declined to comment.

This article originally appeared on www.theaustralian.com.au/property.