The Chairman of Hong Kong-listed Asian gaming investor International Entertainment Corp (IEC), Stanley Choi, is no longer deemed a substantial shareholder of the company after his shareholding fell below 5% on Tuesday.
According to details released by the company, Choi’s wholly-owned Brighten Path Limited this week placed 190 million shares, representing 13.88% of total issues shares of the company, with completion of the placing having already taken place. The shares were placed at a price of HK$0.29, putting their value at HK$55.1 million (US$7.1 million).
Brighten path had held 18.75% of issued shares prior to the placing but has now seen its stake fall to 4.87%. As a result, it ceased to be a substantial shareholder of the company, IEC said.
The transaction represents the fifth time since early 2021 that Choi has sold off a substantial stake in IEC, of which he acquired a majority interest in 2017. He previously held 55.82% of the company but sold off an 18.99% share to IEC’s Chief Executive Officer, Ho Wong Meng, in March 2021 for HK$228.8 million (US$29.4 million).
In early November he sold off another 63 million shares for HK$24.6 million (US$3.2 million), reducing his interest to 32.23%, then another batch of 66 million shares just weeks later to take his interest to 27.41%. His stake was reduced to 18.75% in December.
IEC owns New Coast Hotel Manila in the Philippines where it plans to co-run casino operations alongside local gaming regulator PAGCOR as part of a recently signed cooperation agreement. The company then plans to use the know-how it acquires from PAGCOR to develop and operate its own integrated resort in Manila, having already been granted a provisional gaming license.
IEC recently revealed that its IR would feature “two-to-three sky high buildings” and cover 250,000 square meters of total area, with substantial gaming and non-gaming attractions.
Choi was recently named as part of a bloc of Asian investors that holds a combined 27.7% stake in UK-based platform provider Playtech plc – currently the target of a takeover bid by Australian slot machine giant Aristocrat. The investors are seen as Aristocrat’s main obstacle in completing its takeover attempt amid reports they may vote against the deal going through.