Macau junket investor Imperial Pacific International Holdings Ltd has announced an eighth delay in giving formal details to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange over its major transaction concerning a casino licence on the Pacific island of Saipan (pictured).
The firm has set a new deadline of October 10 for the relevant disclosures, it said in a filing on Friday. It first formally announced its bid for a Saipan licence – including the payment of a US$30 million refundable deposit – on May 7.
On August 13 Imperial Pacific, formerly a dormant listed entity called First Natural Foods Holdings Ltd, said in a filing it had pledged to spend US$3.14 billion – 50 percent more that it had mentioned previously – in order to secure a casino licence conditionally granted to it by the Lottery Commission of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The jurisdiction is a U.S. territory.
Imperial Pacific – while still known as First Natural Foods – in March completed a HKD400 million (US$51.6 million) deal for a share of Macau junket promoter Hengsheng Group’s profit stream.
Analysts from Credit Suisse AG in Hong Kong said on Wednesday in a note that Macau junkets were increasingly taking players to overseas destinations “in light of the current sensitive political situation” – a reference to the widely reported corruption crackdown in mainland China.
Scheduled flights currently operate between Shanghai in China and Saipan, with an average flying time of four hours and 20 minutes.
On August 22, Imperial Pacific warned the Hong Kong bourse that it expected to record a significant loss for the six months to June 30, 2014.
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"The [Macau] government has a lead in this subject in regards to what should be done after the [gaming] concessions expire. We will be first listening to what the government will say”
Ambrose So Shu Fai
Vice-chairman and chief executive at Macau casino operator SJM Holdings