Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Ltd, a privately held firm founded by Hong Kong businessman Cheng Yu Tung, is interested in investing in a US$4 billion casino in Vietnam. The company is already a partner in a bid for a casino in Australia and has recently committed to build an integrated resort in South Korea.
“We are interested,” Henry Cheng Kar Shun, a director at the investment company, told Bloomberg News referring to the casino resort in the central Vietnam province of Quang Nam. “We are doing something now to secure this project,” he added.
VinaCapital Group, Vietnam’s largest fund manager, is developing the Quang Nam project and said it has almost completed negotiations with an unnamed foreign partner, according to an October report by the Vietnam Investment Review.
Chow Tai Fook Enterprises would replace Malaysia’s Genting Malaysia Bhd as investors in the project.
Don Lam, co-founder and chief executive of VinaCapital, told local media that the company expects to start construction of the project in mid-2015.
Vietnam’s government is currently considering a draft decree allowing local citizens to enter casinos and plans also to reduce regulatory barriers for casino operators to do business in the country in a bid to attract more foreign investors.
Chow Tai Fook Enterprises, one of the leading conglomerates in Hong Kong, is looking to tap a boom in gaming demand in Asia as more Chinese travel overseas. Last month, the company signed a letter of intent to invest US$1.6 billion to create a new South Korean casino resort at Incheon, near the country’s capital Seoul, according to local media reports.
The firm is also involved in a bid to develop a casino resort in Brisbane, the capital of the Australian state of Queensland, in partnership with Echo Entertainment Group Ltd and Far East Consortium (Australia) Pty Ltd.
Cheng Yu Tung, 89, is a long time investor in Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau SA (STDM), the parent of Macau casino operator SJM Holdings Ltd, founded by Stanley Ho Hung Sun. Mr Cheng’s 10 percent stake in STDM gives him control of more than 290 million shares of SJM Holdings, according to Bloomberg. The Macau casino operator had a total issued share capital of 5,655,929,293 as of October 31.
Henry Cheng, Cheng Yu-Tung’s son, is also chairman of Hong Kong-listed International Entertainment Corp, an entertainment company that agreed in January to pay as much as HK$7.35 billion (US$948 million) for a 70-percent stake in a company linked to Macau junket operator Suncity Group. The deal has still not been concluded, the firm said last month.
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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