A British company’s plans to turn an iconic Portuguese cruise ship into a luxurious floating hotel have hit the doldrums less than a year after tense bidding saw the ocean liner change hands for a record 3.9 million euros.
The problem, say reports this week, is that hotel group Signature Living has failed to come up with the last tranche of payment.
The 632-berth craft may now be re-auctioned, explains TSF radio, not clarifying where that leaves the 2.8 million euros already put forwards by Signature Living under the original terms of purchase.
TSF adds that Signature Living’s plan to transport the Funchal to “a location in UK” to run as a top-quality hotel changed shortly after the auction in December (click here).
The last intended role for the massive craft was to be transformed into a party boat, operating out of Ibiza (click here).
But this now looks in jeopardy. Says the station, Signature Living has suffered a “flight of investors” from the project, and has asked for an extension on the schedule of payments, which is now being “analysed” by the insolvency administrators handling the sale.
This is not the first time the redoubtable Funchal has been in the doldrums.
Its long and auspicious career came to a halt in 2010 when it was purchased by entrepreneur Rui Alegre, former husband of one of Portugal’s richest women, Paula Amorim.
Alegre hoped to turn the boat, and its sisters, into floating touristic money-spinners. But refits gobbled up cash and the dream sank spectacularly, with the Funchal left bobbing in the water in Lisbon since 2015.
TSF says the future is uncertain. Administrators may give Signature Living ‘more time’ or they may decide not to accept their request for a payment extension and put the ship back up for auction
Judging by last December’s bidding – where the reserve price was only 2.3 million – there could be at least two other interested parties.