UPDATE 1-Bahamas mega-resort loses bid to for U.S. bankruptcy
(Recasts lead, adds details from ruling and background)
By Tom Hals
Sept 15 (Reuters) - The Chinese contractor behind the nearly complete Baha Mar mega-resort in the Bahamas scored a victory over the project's developer on Tuesday with the dismissal of the resort's U.S. Bankruptcy in favor of proceedings in the Bahamas.
The ruling, by a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge in Delaware, helps simplify the complex dispute that erupted when the $3.5 billion project missed its scheduled opening in March and construction ground to a halt.
Baha Mar will be one of the biggest resorts in the Caribbean when it opens, and is considered vital to reviving the Bahamian economy.
"Many stakeholders in the project would expect that any insolvency proceedings would likely take place in the Bahamas," U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Carey wrote in his 24-page opinion. "I can perceive no greater good to be accomplished by exercising jurisdiction over these Chapter 11 cases."
Baha Mar said in a statement it was disappointed with the ruling and will explore its alternatives.
The unusual fight began when Baha Mar put a small American subsidiary into U.S. Bankruptcy in June, which allowed the rest of the corporate family to seek U.S. Bankruptcy despite having no U.S. operations.
The Chinese contractor and the government of the Bahamas prefer a liquidation proceeding in Bahamian courts. Earlier this month the Bahamas' Supreme Court appointed provisional liquidators who are changed with taking possession of Baha Mar's assets. Continuación...