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Spain – Only one bidder emerges in Tenerife casino tender

By - 12 September 2019

Just one company has showed an interest in acquiring the share package of the three casinos owned by the Council of Tenerife.

Although initially there were four business groups that signed up to find out more regarding the situation of the casino sell off the contracting authority is only analysing just one offer. The island’s coordinating Director Aarón Afonso said that the offer is currently under review to make sure that it meets with the technical requirements of the tender process. If it meets with these requirements then the envelope containing the economic tender will be opened.

According to Alonso, “the political decision must be taken as to whether or not to continue the transfer, always taking into account the margin that is legally and technically allowed.”

Afonso acknowledged that, if the company meets all the requirements and finally the decision is made to halt the licensing process then the government could have to pay financial compensation to the bidding company for the expenses it incurred for taking part.

The tender was launched by the previous administration and has already caused considerable controversy. The sale of the three casinos -located in Santa Cruz, Puerto de la Cruz and Las Américas-was approved by a majority in the plenary, but it was highly criticised by the Podemos (We Can) party. The party even initiated legal proceedings against the decision and accused the previous government of selling the three public casinos with a price much lower than their actual value.
In August The Socialist Party of Spain (PSOE) reached an agreement with the Podemos Party to analyse the possible alternatives to the sale of the three casinos in Tenerife planned by the local council. In the agreement, the two political parties agreed to jointly file a motion of censure against the ex President of the council Carlos Alonso, so that all information regarding the process of selling the casinos had to be collected, in order to analyse the procedure so far as well as the economic viability of these companies going forward.

The current president of the council, Pedro Martín, has already acknowledged that he does not know if the operation can be reversed.

However, the vice president of the council, Enrique Arriaga, has already announced that in the pact that he signed with the PSOE both sides have committed themselves to carry out a streamlining of the public sector, and that therefore, they plan to continue with the restructuring plans of the companies in which the council has a majority stake.

In October 2018 the government announced that the three casinos in Tenerife had been put on sale and would be privatised under a new public tender for a total of €24.9m. The council then headed by Carlos Alonso explained that the resources obtained after the sale of the three casinos would “be used to finance social-health infrastructures” on the island.
The Taoro casino is the oldest of the three and opened in 1979. The casino in Playa de las Américas opened in 1987 and the casino in Santa Cruz opened to the public in 1994. The most popular casino is The Casino Playa de Las Americas, which is located on the Costa Adeje – an up-market resort on the southern coast. Meanwhile the Puerto de la Cruz Casino is located in Tenerife’s main tourist resort in the north of the island and The Casino Santa Cruz is located in the landmark 5-star Iberostar Grand Hotel Mencey in Santa Cruz.

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