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John Paulson betting on Puerto Rico tourist sector

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

San Juan, Sep 24 (EFE).- Hedge fund billionaire John Paulson's company has acquired a majority interest in an exclusive beachfront complex near San Juan, a major bet on Puerto Rico's tourism sector.

The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort and Bahia Beach Resort & Golf Club, located on Puerto Rico's north coast about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from San Juan, were acquired by Paulson & Co.'s Recovery Fund.

"The St. Regis Bahia Beach resort is already one of the premier leisure travel destinations in the Caribbean, and there is increasing demand from both those looking to purchase holiday homes in Puerto Rico and from those living in or moving to the island," John Paulson said in a statement.

Paulson, who has spent past vacations on the Caribbean island, has acquired a majority share in BBP Partners, the joint venture that was created to manage the complex.

The minority partners are Interlink Group and Munoz Holdings, two of Puerto Rico's largest developers.

In recent months, the business press has speculated about the idea that Paulson was seeking investment opportunities in Puerto Rico in the hope that future tax policy changes on the island would attract big U.S. investors.

The complex encompasses 483 acres along the ocean and is 25 minutes by car from the Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport serving San Juan.

Paulson's investment is a vote of confidence in an island that has been experiencing economic difficulties for years, has accumulated a record deficit that has alarmed some investors in the debt markets and that is focusing on tourism as one of the pillars of its economic recovery.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/agencia-efe/130924/john-paulson-betting-puerto-rico-tourist-sector