Cambodian casino operator NagaCorp Ltd has made a voluntary statement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange seeking to reassure investors that the Friday death of the company’s founder, Chen Lip Keong, announced on Monday, “will not have any material impact” on key aspects of the company’s business arrangements.
The firm’s share price had fallen 9.20 percent in Monday trading, following the announcement of the founder’s death. It had recovered by 3.38 percent before Wednesday trading.
NagaCorp has a long-life casino monopoly in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, which it exercises via its NagaWorld complex (pictured).
The Tuesday statement mentioned in terms of business-as-usual, a subscription agreement between the company and ChenLipKeong Fund Ltd, for the latter to sign up for just over 1.14 billion settlement shares to raise circa HKD13.71 billion (US$1.76 billion) at HKD12.00 per share.
The subscriber is an investment holding company directly and wholly-owned by an entity linked to the Sakai Trust, a family trust established by the late Mr Chen.
That entity, referred to as the “Sakai Trustee”, is said to hold directly and indirectly, 69.26 percent of NagaCorp’s issued shares.
The filing noted, referring to the founder: “As at the date of this announcement and to the best knowledge of the board, the board is of the view that the passing away of Dr Chen will not have any material impact on the subscription agreement, and the board is not aware of any circumstance that will or could prevent the subscription agreement from remaining in full force and effective.”
The filing also referred to a loan of up to US$80 million by the Sakai Trust. It observed that the “sole purpose” of the loan was for “refinancing and/or discharging part of” outstanding 2024 notes issued by the company, “upon their maturity”.
In October NagaCorp had said it would have “sufficient” capital to repay its US$472.2-million outstanding notes, maturing in July 2024.
In Tuesday’s filing, the group said it was “not aware of any circumstance that will or could prevent the loan agreement from remaining in full force and effective”.
The voluntary disclosure also said that board was of the view that “to the best of its knowledge, save for the redesignation of Mr Chen Yiy Fon,” a son of the founder, as the new chief executive of the group, “there is no change, nor is the board aware of any potential change, to the senior management team of the company,” resulting from the death of the group’s founder.
“The current management team continues to receive the full support of the board,” added the statement.
In October NagaCorp reported earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of US$215.4 million for the first nine months of 2023. The figure was up 17.4 percent from the prior-year period.
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