Lone Star’s purchase of Vilamoura labelled “turning point” for resort

Algarve business leaders say the sale of Vilamoura to American private equity firm Lone Star Funds could be a “turning point” for the development of the resort.

As reported throughout national media last week, the flagship complex was sold for €200 million – a huge sum despite the fact that it was three times less than the value set pre-financial crisis.

According to Algarve business leader Vítor Neto, the resort was sold “just in time”.

He said it was debatable how much longer Vilamoura could have survived without “an intervention to breathe some life” into it and “revive planned investments”, like the controversial Cidade Lacustre project which involves the artificial flooding of thousands of hectares of agricultural land to create a deluxe lake-city.

But Nuno Sancho Ramos, manager of the resort’s public spaces, says any investments need to be “well thought out”, stressing that Vilamoura these days is most attractive to foreigners.

Ramos suggests the new owners should try to attract older people from central and Northern Europe, stressing that the average Vilamoura resident/visitor is an “active individual, aged between 30 and 50, with an average-high income, who is demanding and prefers a quieter destination”.

This far, Lone Star has been enigmatic, saying only that it plans to “strengthen and revive” Vilamoura through a long-term investment plan.