Hong Kong-listed Suncity Group Holdings Ltd, controlled by Macau junket boss Alvin Chau Cheok Wa, is to increase to 74.42 percent from 51.0 percent its equity interest in a Philippine-listed firm involved in the development of the Westside City Resorts casino project in the Philippine capital Manila.
The Hong Kong entity is doing so via a subscription of PHP7.3-billion (US$144.5-million) worth of convertible bonds to be issued by the Philippine entity, Suntrust Home Developers Inc.
The adjustment to a 74.42 percent holding in Suntrust by Suncity Group Holdings would be on the assumption there were no change in the number of shares issued by Suntrust other than via the issue of the conversion shares.
Suncity Group Holdings stated that Suntrust was a non-wholly owned subsidiary of the company and therefore the bond subscription did not amount to a deal with a “connected” party under Hong Kong bourse rules.
The long stop date on the deal is July 30 “or such later date as Suntrust and the purchaser may agree in writing,” although it is also subject to the approval of the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission.
In January it had been reported that the securities regulator was to look into whether minority public shareholders in Suntrust should have been given the chance to tender their stock and exit in return for a cash offer, prior to Suntrust being taken over by Suncity Group Holdings.
The latter firm said in its 2019 results announcement in March this year that piling works for Westside City Resorts were “ongoing”, adding that a ground-breaking ceremony for the scheme would be held “soon”.
Suncity Group Holdings said in its latest announcement that the subscription amount would be applied by Suntrust “for the development of the main hotel casino” at the Westside City Resorts complex.
The Westside City Resorts project will be located in Entertainment City, a 120-hectare (297-acre) parcel of reclaimed land in Metro Manila. Entertainment City as a whole is being marketed by the Philippine authorities as a casino cluster meant to emulate the success of Macau’s Cotai district.
Suncity Group Holdings is involved in a number of casino projects in Asia Pacific, some active and some under construction, although the Covid-19 pandemic has had an impact on some of the projects.
The firm has a leading stake in Summit Ascent Holdings Ltd, the promoter of the Tigre de Cristal casino complex in the Russian Far East. Summit Ascent said in a March 27 filing that Tigre de Cristal was to suspend gaming operations from March 28 due to Covid-19.
In mid-May Suncity Group Holdings said that a company where it is an investor had received a decades-long casino business licence for the Hoiana casino resort in Vietnam.
The Suncity listco reiterated a March announcement that “the full opening of Hoiana is scheduled to happen in 2021 while an exclusive preview will be held in summer 2020”.
The Suncity brand is to manage casino operations at Hoiana, according to previous filings. Hoiana has been described in press releases related to the project as a US$4-billion, multi-phase development.
Privately-held Macau junket investor Suncity Group, also led by Mr Chau, said last week it had recorded a loss from February to May this year amid the Covid-19 pandemic. But it added that the private group’s “shareholders will be exempted from the loss”.
(Updated 5.30pm, June 1)
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