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Macau casino tycoon delays Hong Kong listing PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 10 July 2008

AFP, HONG KONG - The casino firm owned by Macau billionaire Stanley Ho said Wednesday it would list next week following a delay as his sister lost a legal challenge to block the float.

Stanley Ho put off the initial public offering of Sociedade de Jogos de Macau Holdings (SJM) after Winnie Ho launched a last-minute bid earlier this week to seek a full judicial review of the listing decision.
SJM told in a supplemental prospectus to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange that it would delay the long-awaited listing from July 10 to July 16.
"The directors are of the opinion that the judicial review proceedings constitute significant new information which might be material to investors' ability to make an informed assessment of the company," SJM had said.
Winnie Ho had claimed the listing was "contrary to the public interest and the longstanding policy of the Hong Kong government not to promote gambling," according to court documents.
But Anselmo Reyes, the judge presiding over the last-ditch bid, dismissed her arguments.
Ambrose So, SJM's chief executive officer, welcomed the ruling and said SJM would stick with the new listing date, according to local broadcaster RTHK.
All potential shareholders who had applied for stock in the firm, a subsidiary of Ho's Macau gaming empire holding company, had been told they could withdraw if they had changed their mind in light of any court action, SJM's statement said when released early Wednesday.
However, Hong Kong's Court of First Instance rejected Winnie Ho's attempt to get a review of the stock exchange and the Securities and Futures Commission's decision to green light the IPO.
"To put it starkly, if persons outside Hong Kong wish foolishly to lose money by gambling outside Hong Kong and thereby generate sizeable profits for a company, why should people in Hong Kong not be entitled to share in that company's profits from the foolishness of others?" Reyes said in a written judgement.
He also said there was a contradiction in Winnie Ho's public interest argument if she was benefitting from gambling as an existing shareholder in the Macau-based parent company.
Stanley Ho, 86, for decades held a monopoly on casinos in the former Portuguese colony, but the market was liberalised in 2002, allowing huge US operators like Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts to eat into his market share.
SJM had initially hoped to raise one billion US dollars when the IPO was first proposed in January in an effort to compete with cash-rich rivals, but postponed the plan due to a weak Hong Kong market.
It then placed its shares on subscription offer from June 26 to July 2, and reports said it had raised less than 500 million US dollars.
Winnie Ho worked for the firm's parent company STDM for 25 years until 2002 and still retains a stake in the company, although Stanley Ho has tried to eject her as a shareholder since the spat began.

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