Hong Kong-listed Landing International Development Ltd says it has struck a conditional deal worth GBP137 million (US$207.4 million) to acquire all the shares in a company controlling Les Ambassadeurs Club and Casino, an upmarket London gaming venue. The club currently operates 45 gaming tables offering a variety of games, including roulette, baccarat, blackjack and three card poker.
The seller of the London venue is Twinwood Ltd, a U.K.-incorporated firm. Landing International said the acquisition will be funded by the company’s internal resources and debt financing.
Landing International is also involved in a project with casino operator Genting Singapore Plc to develop a new gambling resort on Jeju Island, South Korea. The firm currently owns and operates the casino at the Hyatt Regency Jeju Hotel.
According to an extract from Twinwood’s company accounts – published in a Landing International filing on Thursday to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange announcing the deal – rolling chip turnover ascribed to the target company for the 10 months to October 31 was approximately GBP2.22 billion. Rolling chip turnover in the 12 months of 2014 was nearly GBP5.31 billion. Gaming revenue in the first 10 months of 2015 was nearly GBP16.44 million. Such revenue for full-year 2014 was nearly GBP104.88 million.
“The gaming revenue for fiscal year 2014 achieved a year over year increase of approximately 167 percent mainly as a result of a few substantial losses by long term players in July and August 2014,” said Landing International’s filing.
In 2006, U.K. public broadcaster the BBC reported that Indonesian tobacco tycoon Putera Sampoerna had used the Twinwood vehicle to make a GBP115-million bid to buy Les Ambassadeurs from its then owner London Clubs International. A deal was subsequently completed, according to multiple reports by U.K. media.
The casino in Mayfair, in the West End of London, was featured in the Beatles’ film A Hard Day’s Night and the James Bond film Dr No, according to media outlets.
In Thursday’s filing, Landing International said its board “considers now the right timing to expand and diversify its gaming operations into other markets by investing in a casino with well-defined and recognised brand name such as Les Ambassadeurs Club”.
The acquisition “represents a unique and good investment opportunity that allows the company to step up its investment and presence in the gaming industry and to enhance the future earning capability and potential of the group,” it added.
In a second filing on Thursday, Landing International said the district where its planned Jeju scheme – known as the Myth-History Park project – is to be built, had been designated a Foreign Investment Zone by Jeju Island’s semi-autonomous government.
The firm said this would allow “100 percent exemption according to foreign investment ratio for five years,” on corporation income tax, with a 50 percent reduction on such tax for a subsequent two years; a 100 percent exemption from customs duties, individual consumption tax and value added tax – as applied to capital goods – for five years; and a 100 percent exemption from acquisition tax and property tax for a period of 15 years.
The firm said its local unit Landing Jeju Development Co Ltd would file a tax reduction request to South Korea’s Ministry of Strategy and Finance and hoped to receive such exemptions with effect from January 1, 2016.
Landing International and its partner Genting Singapore broke ground on the project in February. At that time it was described as a US$1.8-billion scheme.
In April this year, Landing International said the Jeju resort would be modelled after Genting Singapore’s Resorts World Sentosa venue in the city-state, and would open in stages from 2017, with completion due by 2019.
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”The project [in South Korea] continues apace in terms of detailed design, where we have now reached the 90 percent threshold”
Chief executive of U.S. tribal casino operator Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment