Macau gaming operator Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd said it expects to withdraw its listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEx) on July 3, 2015. The last day of trading would be June 29, the company said on Tuesday after market hours.
Melco Crown is to hold an extraordinary general meeting of shareholders to vote on the proposed delisting on March 25, the firm said. An application for the voluntary withdrawal was submitted on January 2.
The delisting still needs approval from the exchange’s listing committee.
The company has said it intends to retain the primary listing of American depository shares (ADSs) on Nasdaq.
Melco Crown, which operates the City of Dreams (pictured) and Altira casinos in Macau, has said one of the reasons for the proposed delisting was the lack of “appropriate opportunities to raise additional equity in Hong Kong” and the “very limited” volume of trading in its shares on that exchange.
The firm added that maintaining the listing of the shares in Hong Kong “requires additional ongoing regulatory compliance obligations and such requirements involve significant additional costs and administrative burden”.
At the close of business on February 26, Melco Crown had issued a total of 1,629,984,104 shares, of which 4,835,702 were trading on the HKEx. About 30 percent of the shares in issue, or 487,283,159 shares, were deposited for ADSs for trading on Nasdaq.
After the Hong Kong delisting, existing Melco Crown shareholders will have the option of either still keeping the Hong Kong-issued shares or converting them into ADSs, which will continue to be traded on the Nasdaq in the United States.
The company said in Tuesday’s filing that it will, between June 29 and August 28 this year, “bear the costs of the shareholders” for the deposit of the Hong Kong shares with the depositary bank and the issuance of ADSs.
All the six Macau casino concessionaires and sub-concessionaires are currently listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Only Melco Crown has a dual listing.
Melco Crown’s ADSs were listed on the Nasdaq Global Market in December 2006 and were upgraded to be traded on the Nasdaq Global Select Market in January 2009.
In December, Melco Crown was dropped from the Nasdaq Q-50 Index due to its poor stock performance.
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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