Mar 16, 2023 Newsdesk Latest News, Top of the deck, World
Australia’s The Star Entertainment Group Ltd confirmed in a Thursday filing that its Hong Kong-based partners for Queen’s Wharf Brisbane, an under-construction Queensland casino resort (pictured in a file photo), were each contributing to the group’s move that raised AUD800 million (US530.8 million) in fresh group funds.
The exercise included a “three for five” entitlement offer on Star Entertainment’s fully-paid ordinary shares.
The casino firm had said in a March 2 filing to the Australian Securities Exchange that “Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Ltd and Far East Consortium International Ltd have provided binding pre-commitments for approximately AUD80 million, which equates to their functional pro rata entitlement in the offer”.
In its Thursday filing, the casino group stated the two “are participating in the equity raising on the retail entitlement offer timetable.”
The Star Entertainment added: “Accordingly, both parties will have new shares issued and allotted to them under the placement and institutional entitlement offer on the retail entitlement offer timetable.”
The statement cited The Star Entertainment’s chief executive, Robbie Cooke, as saying: “We are extremely appreciative of the support we have received from our retail shareholders who have participated in the retail entitlement offer.”
He added that the exercise would help the group achieve a “strengthened balance sheet,” in order to “deliver on its key strategic priorities and to meet the capital requirements” for which it had already made provision.
The March 2 filing announcing the overall fundraising exercise had stated that the “historical capital expenditure” for the financial years 2017 to 2022 on the Queen’s Wharf Brisbane casino scheme had been AUD2.9 billion.
Chow Tai Fook Enterprises and Far East Consortium were each described as 25 percent equity investors in the project, alongside The Star Entertainment’s 50 percent.
Chow Tai Fook Enterprises – a privately-held entity – was founded by the family of Hong Kong jewellery entrepreneur the late Cheng Yu Tung, who had been a long-standing business associate of Macau casino market former monopolist, the late Stanley Ho Hung Sun.
The Thursday statement from The Star Entertainment said the retail entitlement offer had closed at 5pm, Sydney time on Monday, and raised approximately AUD203 million at AUD1.20 per new share.
“Together with the placement and institutional entitlement offer… the total amount… under the equity raising is approximately AUD800 million,” confirmed the casino group.
It said the retail entitlement offer had “strong support”, with circa 10,100 valid applications for approximately AUD107 million, “representing a take up rate by eligible retail shareholders of approximately 53 percent”.
The circa 80.5 million new shares not taken up under the retail entitlement offer, will be allotted to sub-underwriters.
Approximately 169.5 million new shares to be issued under the retail entitlement offer are due to be allotted on Monday (March 20) and then would trade on the Australian Securities Exchange on a normal settlement basis from Tuesday (March 21).
In early December it had been announced that The Star Entertainment’s casino licences in Queensland were to be suspended for 90 days, and its properties there placed under state-government supervision. The group was also fined AUD100 million.
The action followed a state regulatory probe that found the firm had concealed from the authorities illegitimate wager payments it obtained from Chinese patrons, and lured problem gamblers from other Australian states.
The Star’s licence for its flagship Sydney, New South Wales, casino was also suspended “indefinitely” from October 21 last year, and placed under state-government supervision. The Australian casino operator was also fined AUD100 million by state authorities.
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