A shuttered five-star Macau hotel, Imperial Beijing Palace Hotel (pictured), on Taipa, is said to have handed back its operating licence to the city’s authorities, citing “unfeasibility of completing renovation works” prior to a January 22 deadline imposed by the government.
Macau Hotel Developers Ltd, a company described in a press release on Friday as “the new management” of the hotel, said it had applied to the Macau government for “a work permit to remove all illegal structures currently encumbering the hotel and to undergo other mandatory refurbishment works”. Macau Hotel Developers is led by Macau gaming investor Ng Man Sun.
“However, as a result of the severe problematic irregularities caused by, and inherited from, the former management of the [hotel] company, namely Chen Mei Huan and Xu Jiaoji… the work permit applications are still under review and pending approval. In particular, authorities have raised concerns over ownership of the hotel’s land property,” added the press release.
It further stated: “Considering the imminent expiration of the temporary closure period on 22 January 2017, and the unfeasibility of completing renovation works before then, even if renovation work permit approval is granted, the company is forced to return its current hotel licence to MGTO [Macao Government Tourism Office].”
MGTO ordered in July 2016 a temporary closure of the hotel for six months up to January 22, 2017. The sanction was the result of “serious administrative irregularities” and “illegal reconstructions”, said at the time Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, the tourism bureau’s director. MGTO confirmed on Friday that it had cancelled the hotel licence.
It had been been reported by local media that it was the first five-star establishment in Macau ever to be subjected to such a sanction.
Friday’s statement on behalf of Mr Ng’s side noted: “The company plans to redevelop, renovate, and reapply for the hotel licence as soon as irregularities caused by former management are rectified, and compliance requirements are once again met. The new management is dedicated to maintaining a professional relationship with the MGTO and all regulatory authorities.”
Mr Ng, who is also the chairman and chief executive of Hong Kong-listed VIP gambling investor Amax International Holdings Ltd, has been associated with the hotel – formerly known as the New Century – since it launched in the 1990s.
But a bitter dispute – played out in the local media – between Mr Ng and his former domestic partner, businesswoman Chen Mei Huan, has reportedly produced deadlock regarding the future of the hotel property.
Casino Greek Mythology, a gaming facility inside the grounds of the hotel, was shut down on December 31, 2015 by Macau’s casino regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau – also known by its Portuguese acronym DICJ – in a measure described at the time as a “temporary closure” . That was at the request of casino operator SJM Holdings Ltd, which provides the gaming licence for the casino.
Amax International said in a Friday filing it has a 24.8 percent stake in an entity called Greek Mythology (Macau) Entertainment Group Corp Ltd. The latter is described as the casino management services provider for Greek Mythology.
Amax International said in its latest filing that it had been informed about the hotel management’s intention to reapply for a hotel licence and would update its own investors regarding the “the latest development on the business operation of Greek Mythology… as and when appropriate.”
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"I think for our property [Grand Lisboa Palace], looking at breaking-even and stabilisation, will take… 12 months or so, or less”
Daisy Ho Chiu Fung
Chairman of Macau casino operator SJM Holdings