Mainland China real estate developer Landing International Development Ltd on Wednesday said the acquisition of the remaining equity interest relating to a casino business on Jeju Island, in South Korea, will help the company “establish its own branding and presence in the gaming industry worldwide”.
Landing International already owns 50 percent of the holding company that operates the casino at the Hyatt Regency Jeju Hotel (pictured). The other partner in the venture – Genting Hong Kong Ltd – announced in July it was selling its own indirectly-held equity interest in the casino business for a consideration of KRW130 billion (US$111.1 million).
“The Jeju casino … will provide a good platform for the group to build up its own brand name and goodwill in the gaming industry, and to develop its own professional team in casino operation and management,” Landing International said in a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
The company said its South Korean subsidiary would seek to ensure that “employees seconded by Genting Hong Kong … will continue to stay in their positions until three months after completion” or for a shorter time, as the company sees fit.
The deadline for the completion of the transaction is December 31.
Landing International additionally said it would hire “top-notched professionals who have extensive experience with Asia and/or international based gaming operations to strengthen the Jeju casino and strategise for long term growth”.
The mainland developer added that it might also expand its casino business “in other suitable markets and broaden its market share in the gaming industry”.
Wednesday’s filing stated that Landing International’s “internal resources and/or debt financing” would fund the acquisition. “The company will not utilise the proceeds from the rights issue for the payment of the consideration,” the firm added.
Landing International saw its net loss widen in the first half of 2015. The loss in the six months to June 30 was HKD143.91 million (US$18.6 million), compared to approximately HKD129.72 million in the year-prior period, the firm reported in August.
The company however said the casino at the Hyatt Regency Jeju turned from loss to profit in the first half of 2015. The property was reopened in January after being closed for renovation since mid-October. Landing International said its share of profit from Hyatt Regency Jeju for the period was approximately HKD24.46 million.
“This signifies the success of Jeju casino’s change of customer focus and marketing strategy and the strengthened managerial and professional support after the rebranding in January 2015,” the company said in Wednesday’s filing.
“It also reflects the growing potential of the Jeju casino attributable mainly to the growing tourism and foreign investments in Jeju province, especially the soaring number of Chinese tourists to Jeju,” it added.
Jeju island is popular with mainland Chinese holidaymakers and offers them visa-free entry if they arrive directly by international flight or international ferry or cruise ship.
Elsewhere on Jeju, Landing International has a partnership with Genting Singapore Plc – another unit of the Genting group – for a new casino project. A ground breaking ceremony for that scheme took place in February.
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