Malaysian investment firm MQ Technology Bhd confirmed in a filing to Bursa Malaysia on Wednesday that it will no longer be involved in the development of a project in Cambodia that would include hotels, a casino and a theme park.
MQ Technology said in December 2016 that its subsidiary Star Acres Sdn Bhd had signed an agreement with Cambodian Resort and Entertainment Co Ltd “to collaborate on the development and management of a theme park”, identified as a “Jurassic Theme Park”. At the time, MQ Technology said the entire project would require a total investment of US$51.1 million, to be completed over a period of six years. That included US$5.1-million for the theme park.
Cambodian Resort and Entertainment was described as the owner of a plot of land with 5.1 hectares (12.6 acres) in Bonteay Chakkrei, in Prey Veng province, near Cambodia’s border with Vietnam.
The agreement between the two companies had already been extended eight times but it lapsed on Wednesday, according to the latest filing.
“The board of directors of MQ Technology Bhd wishes to announce that the memorandum of agreement, which was previously extended to 2 January 2019 is deemed to have lapsed,” said the firm.
The company added that the agreement was not extended “as the parties have not been able to move the venture forward”.
According to the original agreement, Star Acres was to have had a 70-percent stake in the joint venture and provide funding to build the theme park.
MQ Technology, through its subsidiaries, designs, develops and manufactures high-precision tooling for various industries. The company said in 2017 that it was seeking to diversify into “marketing services for gaming-related businesses”.
The Malaysia-listed company said in a December 2017 filing that it had signed an agreement with a company called Vivo Tower Holdings Ltd to provide marketing services and take international junket players to Star Vegas Resort and Club in Cambodia, a property controlled by Australia-listed Donaco International Ltd.
Cambodia’s gaming industry has been growing quickly, with several new casinos approved for operation in 2018. The passage of a long-discussed draft gaming law prepared for the Cambodian government – which is due to regulate the country’s gaming business – has been touted as possible in 2019.
The Phnom Penh Post reported on Wednesday that the Cambodian government granted 52 new casino licences in 2018, which pushed the number of gambling facilities up by 53 percent from the previous year.
The newspaper quoted Ros Phirun, a deputy director-general of the Cambodian Ministry of Economy and Finance’s financial industry department, as saying that the authorities were “actively drafting the law to govern casino and gambling businesses”. “When it is finalised and ready to be activated, we hope revenue from the sector will be bigger,” he reportedly added.
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DS Kim, Jeremy An and Christine Wang
Analysts at brokerage JP Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) Ltd