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Initial Public Offering (IPO) Planned for Macau Casino

Gambling tycoon Stanley Ho’s Casino Company, Sociedade de Jogos de Macau (SJM) Holdings, this week began selling shares, worth $600 million, for an initial public offering (IPO) on the Hong Kong stock market.

Fund managers and underwriters involved in the IPO are talking to the financial press, providing details of the forthcoming IPO.

SJM once hoped to raise $1 billion from the public sale of its share — but withdrew an earlier planned offering in January. Executives are conducting investor education seminars this week in Hong Kong, and then are heading to Singapore for meetings on Thursday, according to a sales memorandum sent to fund managers.

The casino gaming firm rescheduled the launch of its deal in January to deal with questions posed by Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC).

News and media in Asia have reported that Stanley Ho and his sister, Winnie Ho, have been resolving a legal dispute over the structure of the shares of SJM’s parent firm, the Stanley Ho-controlled Sociedade de Turismo e Diversoes de Macau (STDM).

No formal road show schedule had been set, another source said, though the informal “education briefings” are now well underway.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index .HSI has lost 6 per cent this past week in exceptionally volatile trade on fears of rising inflation, and is down 18 per cent this year. That may curtail enthusiasm for upcoming IPOs, as may the overall slowing growth rate of China itself.

Nearly a dozen companies planning Hong Kong IPOs, totalling about $8 billion, have delayed their offerings so far this year due to sour investor sentiment. However, revenues have not fallen as much as it was feared in the casino industry, with slot machine games proving that they are ever popular even when the high rollers are perhaps a little more wary of going to the tables thanks to the economic situation.

SJM’s market share has shrunk due to increased competition following industry liberalization that has eroded Stanley Ho’s one time monopoly, but the firm is still a financial success by industry standards.

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