Gaming company Universal Entertainment Corp says it plans to spend JPY2 billion (US$17.8 million) buying some of the company’s issued common stock and converting it to treasury shares. It plans to repeat such an exercise in due course.
The Japanese company told the Jasdaq Securities Exchange on Friday that it intended to buy back 600,000 shares of common stock, or 0.75 percent of the total outstanding, between Monday and December 28.
Universal Entertainment said it was doing so “to enable the execution of flexible capital policies that accommodate the reinforcement of the return of profits to shareholders and changes in the company’s operating environment”.
The company said its managers gave priority to returning profits to shareholders.
The group further stated it would follow its initial buy-back with “active, ongoing implementation of measures for the return of profits to shareholders based on its financial status and trends in securities markets”.
Universal Entertainment added it would continue to expand its store of treasury stock as it saw fit. The company had 79,247,284 shares outstanding on September 30, excluding treasury stock. Its treasury stock amounted to 947,716 shares.
Tycoon Kazuo Okada founded Universal Entertainment and is in dispute with the company. Mr Okada told GGRAsia in an interview in August that that unless he regained control of the group, the value of its business would soon be destroyed.
Mr Okada made his fortune from Japan’s pachinko arcades and Universal Entertainment became a leading provider of slot machines, casino equipment and video games. He was removed as chairman of the company and as a board member in June last year after allegations that Mr Okada had misappropriated company funds. Mr Okada has also been removed as the chairman of Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment Inc – the promoter of casino resort Okada Manila in the Philippines that is also connected to Universal Entertainment.
Mr Okada denies any wrongdoing. He says the current management of Universal Entertainment is out to “destroy” him by smearing him – via innuendo – by trying to associate his name with criminal acts.
He was recently detained and interviewed by Hong Kong’s anti-graft body, the Independent Commission Against Corruption, as the body purportedly seeks clarification regarding a slew of allegations and counter-allegations relating to his struggle to wrestle back control of the Universal Entertainment business.
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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