Hong Kong-listed Suncity Group Holdings Ltd said in a Tuesday filing that its shareholders had unanimously approved that day a deal to acquire a 34-percent stake in a Vietnam casino project.
According to a July 27 filing of the group, the purchaser of the interest in the Hoi An scheme – located in Quang Nam Province, on Vietnam’s central coast – is Goal Summit Ltd. The entity is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Suncity Group Holdings, a company chaired by Macau junket investor Alvin Chau Cheok Wa. The seller is Suncity International Holdings Ltd, a British Virgin Islands company wholly owned by Mr Chau.
A November 1 filing by the group had confirmed that the consideration for the stake would be HKD600 million (US$77 million), consisting of a promissory note to the vendor in the principal amount of HKD303 million, and the issuance to the vendor of convertible bonds in the principal amount of HKD297 million.
The early November announcement had outlined that – as things stand – the first phase of the Hoi An project, due to launch in 2019, is to have a foreigner-only casino with 140 gaming tables and 1,000 slot machines.
On November 16, Augustine Ha Ton Vinh, an academic who says he has been advising the Vietnam government on liberalising the gaming industry, suggested, during a Macau conference panel moderated by GGRAsia, that Hoi An would be in a second wave of casino resorts allowed to offer gambling for locals under a national pilot scheme.
It had been reported in the Vietnamese media earlier this month that locals would be allowed to gamble at some Vietnamese casinos starting from next month, after a follow-up government decree on the topic in October.
Mr Chau said at an earlier session of the Macau conference – part of the MGS Entertainment Show, a casino industry event – that Macau’s junket sector could play a part in China’s “Belt and Road” initiative. That seeks to link China’s development to partnerships on infrastructure and commerce with countries along traditional global trade routes. Mr Chau is also boss of the privately held Suncity Group, which is involved in Macau’s credit-based VIP gambling sector.
Tuesday’s filing by Suncity Group Holdings said that as of that date, “Mr Chau and his associates” had a collective 72.17-percent interest in the existing issued share capital of the Hong Kong-listed firm.
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”Our own consensus is that any newcomers to this [junket] sector should be corporatised, and should be financially sound and able to commit a higher guarantee deposit”
Kwok Chi Chung
President of junket trade body, the Macau Association of Gaming and Entertainment Promoters