Taiwan-listed shipping operator First Steamship Co Ltd announced on Monday that it was acquiring nearly 189 million ordinary shares – each priced at HKD1.05 (US$0.13) – in Hong Kong-listed Summit Ascent Holdings Ltd, the lead developer of the Tigre de Cristal casino resort (pictured) in the Russian Far East.
The acquisition – conducted via First Steamship’s subsidiary Heritage Riches Ltd – cost HKD1.98 million, according to First Steamship’s Chinese-language filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange, in Taipei, Taiwan. The deal represented a shareholding of 12.67 percent in Summit Ascent, the Monday filing noted.
The reason given for the move was “long term investment”, said the announcement.
On the same day, a Summit Ascent filing had stated that Asian casino investor Lawrence Ho Yau Lung planned to sell 20 million shares in Summit Ascent – representing a stake of approximately 1.34 percent – thereby ending his role as a direct shareholder in the firm.
Quick Glitter Ltd, an entity wholly owned by Mr Ho, also plans to liquidate fully its position in Summit Ascent, according to the Hong Kong filing. Quick Glitter owns approximately 238.6 million shares of the casino developer, equivalent to a stake of 16.03 percent of Summit Ascent’s issued share capital.
Completion of the respective share placings by Mr Ho and Quick Glitter is expected to take place on or before December 20. Following the completion of the placings, Mr Ho and Quick Glitter will cease to hold any shares in Summit Ascent, the Hong Kong announcement had added.
A possible increase to the tax burden on casinos based in Russia could reduce Summit Ascent’s 2018 earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation by as much as 6 percent, brokerage Union Gaming Securities Asia Ltd said in a note in late November.
Phase one of Tigre de Cristal opened in autumn 2015. The resort, near to Russia’s Pacific port of Vladivostok, is currently the only casino property in operation in a specially-designated investment zone in Primorsky Krai.
Summit Ascent said in August that it expected to open the first stage of Phase II of its Tigre de Cristal property “in the second half of 2019”.
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