LiNiu Technology Group – formerly known as Iao Kun Group Holding Co Ltd – says it “maintained minimal operations” in Macau’s gaming sector in the first half of 2017. The firm is instead increasing its exposure to China’s agricultural sector, it added.
Iao Kun, a business that had originally listed on Nasdaq in July 2010 as a Macau VIP gambling room investor, announced in late April this year that it had changed its name to LiNiu Technology Group. Earlier that month the group had announced it had set up the LiNiu Network, an electronic trading platform focused on the Chinese agricultural sector.
The group said in a Thursday filing detailing its first-half results: “After the company closed four VIP gaming rooms at the Sands Cotai Central Casino, Galaxy Macau, StarWorld and Le Royal Arc in Macau in 2016, the company maintained minimal operations and temporarily relocated the Macau VIP gaming operation to Altira complex, which provides remuneration at a predetermined fixed rate commission.” The latter was a reference to Altira Macau, Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd’s casino hotel in Taipa.
The group reported in the first six months of 2017 a substantial year-on-year narrowing of its net loss. The first-half net loss attributable to shareholders was US$5.7 million, compared to a net loss of US$129.3 million for the prior-year period.
LiNiu Technology Group noted that the first-half results were positively impacted by “a significant decrease in commissions to junket agents as a result of minimal revenue in the gaming operation in the first half of 2017”.
It added: “The lower selling, general and administrative expenses for the six months ended June 30, 2017 [were] primarily due to no longer paying management fees… and lower salaries as a result of the closure of four VIP rooms in 2016.”
The group’s first-half results also touched on the fact that in March, Macau’s Court of First Instance declared the bankruptcy of Sang Lung Gaming Promotion Co Ltd, a VIP gambling promoter linked to LiNiu Technology Group, following a petition by Galaxy Casino Co Ltd – a subsidiary of Macau casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd.
LiNiu Technology Group stated in its latest filing: “The company’s management, upon receipt of further legal advice, filed an appeal to the Macau First Instance Court in the Sang Lung case. Currently, the bankruptcy process has been stopped in the stage of liquidation.”
It added: “If the appeal is not successful, the plaintiff may claim the relevant credits against the debtors of Sang Lung which may equal the entire default of lines of credit in the amount of approximately US$26.9 million”.
LiNiu Technology Group also confirmed in its latest filing that it had regained compliance with Nasdaq’s requirement for the company to maintain a minimum closing bid price of US$1.00 per share. That was achieved following a one-for-six reverse share split that took place in August. The operation reduced the number of the firm’s outstanding ordinary shares from approximately 74.9 million to approximately 12.5 million.
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”Given that the blanket casino closure [in Macau due to Typhoon Mangkhut] happened on an all-important weekend day… we expect that somewhere between MOP1.1 billion [US$136.2 million] and MOP1.5 billion in GGR will be lost”
Analyst at Union Gaming Securities Asia