Australia-listed Frontier Capital Group Ltd is proceeding with the acquisition of Hotel Stotsenberg and Casablanca Casino in the Clark Freeport Zone, in the Philippines.
The firm announced in a Friday filing to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) that it had decided to buy Stotsenberg Leisure and Hotel Corp – the holding firm for the Clark casino. The consideration is US$26 million – in the form of 154.05 million Frontier Capital shares – to be transferred in three tranches.
The deal is still subject to the approval of Frontier Capital’s shareholders, said the filing, adding that the target date for its completion is January 2016.
The Stotsenberg Hotel and Casablanca Casino has 239 hotel rooms, 190 slot machines, 36 gaming tables and two VIP rooms, Frontier Capital stated in the filing. The property is located fewer than two kilometres from Clark International Airport.
Listed in December 2011, Frontier Capital – previously Precious Metal Resources Ltd – was originally involved in the exploration of precious and base metals in Australia. The firm is a former subsidiary of Sovereign Gold Co Ltd.
In August 2014 when Sovereign Gold ceased to be a major shareholder, and as a result of Frontier Capital’s restructuring, the board of the latter company began to review business opportunities in new sectors. Last September, the firm flagged it might move to gaming.
“The Philippines gaming industry is the fastest growing in Asia,” Frontier Capital’s chief operating officer Ken Wong was quoted as saying in Friday’s filing. “Our entry into the gaming industry is well timed to capitalise on this potential,” he added.
Mr Wong, identified as a former executive of Asian casino and casino ship investor Genting Hong Kong Ltd, was appointed late last month to lead Frontier Capital’s gaming operations. Johnny Chan, winner of 10 World Series of Poker bracelets and an inductee to the World Series of Poker Hall of Fame in 2002, was appointed in May as Frontier Capital’s chairman.
The Friday filing added that E!xcite Gaming and Entertainment Inc would provide management and operate the Clark property’s hotel and gaming business. “E!xcite has provided a five-year profit guarantee of US$5 million per annum,” the document added. The firm will, in exchange, be entitled to 142.2 million shares of Frontier Capital, in tranches linked to the profit guarantee being achieved.
E!xcite is headed by Juan Syquia, according to Frontier Capital, and has executives with experience in the gaming industries in Macau and the Philippines, according to biographies provided by Frontier Capital. Frontier Capital’s Mr Wong is also identified as chief financial officer and senior vice president of finance of E!xcite.
Frontier Capital is also investing in the lottery market in Mongolia, according to previous disclosures.
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"I am not going to speculate on what the [casino licence refreshment] tender requirements would be. I have full confidence and faith in the Macau government to treat everyone fairly"
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China