Dolphin signs up partner for 5-star Cyprus resort

The Mediterranean-focused private equity real estate firm is progressing investment in its flagship Venus Rock project by agreeing that Nikki Beach will operate part of it.

Dolphin Capital Investors, the public company managed by private equity real estate firm Dolphin Capital Partners, has signed an agreement with Nikki Beach EMEA Hotels and Resorts to manage part of a five-star resort in Cyprus.

Nikki Beach will operate facilities including an hotel at the 1,000-hectare Venus Rock golf resort in Paphos, south west Cyprus, Dolphin said. The project is expected to open in 2012. Nikki Beach will open a 'resort within a resort' complete with 80 rooms and suites, a club and pool bar, spa and fitness facilities, a VIP Lounge and restaurants plus 50 villas.

Dolphin acquired the site via a takeover of Cyprus developer Aristo Developers last year. Legend has it that Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, was born out of the sea close to the resort’s location, hence its name.

Last week, shares in Dolphin fell more than 16 percent after co-founder Miltos Kambourides put up 11.7 million of shares as additional security on a personal loan raised from the Bank of Cyprus.

Broker Panmure Gordon said in a note that Dolphin's share price was under pressure like all property funds listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in London. However, it argued that investors were ignoring the financial fundamentals of the company, which it said did not have a large debt mountain.

Dolphin Investors was founded in the summer 2005 with €5 million of seed capital, including capital from Fortress Investment Group. Dolphin Capital Partners was founded in 2004 by Kambourides and Pierre Charalambides, both formerly with Soros Real Estate Partners.