Casino operator Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd is introducing a one-year share repurchase programme, the company announced on Wednesday. Management is authorised to carry out on-market repurchases of up to an aggregate of US$500 million.
The programme was approved by Melco Crown’s board of directors “following the expiry of the 2014 share repurchase mandate and the grant of the 2015 share repurchase mandates by the shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting”, held on Wednesday, the firm said in a press release. The 2015 mandates are valid until the gaming operator’s next annual general meeting.
Melco Crown operates two casino properties in Macau, including its flagship City of Dreams Macau (pictured), and one in the Philippines.
According to data from Nasdaq in New York, where Melco Crown has its main listing, a year ago the firm’s American depositary shares (ADSs) were trading at around US$32 apiece. The price has since dropped by around 40 percent.
Melco Crown further stated on Wednesday that the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on May 8 approved the proposed delisting of its shares on that bourse. “A further announcement will be made by the company upon all conditions for the withdrawal of listing having been satisfied,” the gaming operator added.
Melco Crown said in January it wanted to have its shares removed from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange “for reasons of cost and utility”. The company is to retain its ADS listing on Nasdaq.
The firm is aiming to withdraw its Hong Kong listing on July 3, 2015. The last day of trading would be June 29.
Melco Crown additionally announced on Wednesday that Rowen Craigie has retired as a non-executive director of the company. Mr Craigie is chief executive of Australia-based casino operator Crown Resorts Ltd, controlled by billionaire James Packer. Crown Resorts holds a 33.6 percent equity interest in Melco Crown.
Mr Craigie has been replaced on the Melco Crown board by Robert Rankin, who last year left a senior position at Deutsche Bank AG in London to run Mr Packer’s Consolidated Press Holdings Pty Ltd investment vehicle. He is also a director of Crown Resorts.
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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