Philippine-listed Belle Corp announced on Monday the company has hired Hong Kong-based brokerage firm CLSA Ltd to “study the feasibility” of the company selling “a portion” of its current equity ownership in Sinophil Corp “at some future date, subject to market conditions”.
“CLSA has been tasked to study the feasibility of such sale of shares and, if feasible, to study options to optimise the liquidity of the Sinophil shares and maximise value to Belle’s shareholders,” Belle said in a filing to the Philippine Stock Exchange.
Belle last month confirmed it was looking into increasing public ownership in Sinophil, the unit that will hold its gaming investments. The firm controls close to 90 percent of Sinophil’s shares.
“We feel it’s not necessary to own 90 percent. We think 67 to 70 percent is good enough for us,” Willy Ocier, Belle’s vice chairman and also chairman of Sinophil, told GGRAsia in July.
The company announced in June it would reorganise its gaming assets under subsidiary Sinophil, a separate listed entity. The reorganisation was due to be finished this month.
The group’s gaming assets include its 100 percent ownership of Premium Leisure and Amusement Inc and its shares representing 34.5 percent of online lottery system provider Pacific Online Systems Corp.
Premium Leisure and Amusement is part of the consortium that holds a gaming licence for casino resort City of Dreams Manila (pictured in an artist’s rendering). The other partner is Melco Crown (Philippines) Resorts Corp, a subsidiary of Macau-based Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd.
The US$1.2-billion casino resort will feature up to approximately 365 gaming tables, 1,680 slot machines and 1,680 electronic table games upon opening. The property is scheduled to open in the fourth quartet of this year in Manila’s Entertainment City. It will be operated by Melco Crown Philippines.
Sinophil is also changing its name to Premium Leisure Corp.
Belle is controlled by SM Group, headed by Henry Sy, patriarch of what according to Forbes magazine, is the Philippines’ richest family.
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”I thought they were wise to recommend five locations across the kingdom [for casino resorts] rather than one or two locations in Bangkok”
Principal at industry consultancy C3 Gaming Group