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Hong Kong’s Macau Legend buys Howing Enterprises for $90M sum

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A 3D model of the Macau Fisherman’s Wharf after a Macau Legend-funded redevelopment project. MACAU LEGEND DEVELOPMENT LTD

Hong Kong’s Macau Legend buys Howing Enterprises for $90M sum

Hong Kong-listed casino services firm Macau Legend Development Ltd announced on Monday it has purchased the entire stake of Cambodian firm Howing Enterprises Co Ltd for $90 million. It aims to develop an integrated resort in Siem Reap province.

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd (HKEX) said Howing is the holder of several land parcels totalling 1,200ha. The land will be transferred to Macau Legend through the transfer of shares to its subsidiary, Sky Force.

Macau Legend Development Ltd executive director and CEO Chow Kam Fai said the group’s acquisition of the land is intended for the construction and development of an integrated resort in Siem Reap, allowing the firm to take part in and benefit from the Kingdom’s tourism industry.

“The directors consider the terms of the sale and purchase deed fair and reasonable, and the acquisition is in the interests of the company and its shareholders as a whole,” he said.

The completion of the shares sale is expected to take some 40 business days. Macau Legend Development Ltd is one of the leading owners of entertainment and gaming facilities in Macau.

While the announcement said it plans to use the land to develop an integrated resort in Siem Reap, it did not specify if the resort will consist of casino or gambling activities.

The term “integrated resort” is used to describe a major resort property that includes a hotel with casino, together with convention facilities, entertainment shows, theme parks, luxury retail and fine dining.

The Ministry of Economy and Finance’s General Department of Financial Industry deputy director-general Ros Phirun said on Monday that the ministry had not received any investment proposal from Macau Legend or its subsidiary Sky Force, but emphasised that a casino investment in Siem Reap will never get government approval.

“The question is whether the investment plan for integrated resort includes a casino or not. If there is no casino or gambling activity in the project, that is fine. But it should know that the gambling business is not allowed in Siem Reap,” Phirun said.

The deal between Macau Legend Development and Howing Enterprises consists of some 83.88ha of Aspara Authority-owned land, which might be used for parking or a garden.

Apsara Authority spokesperson Chao Sun Keriya said on Monday that the authority has not received an investment request from the company and does not know about the project.

She said the Apsara Authority land comprises protected zones – the Zone 1 and Zone 2 of Angkor Archaeological Park laid out on 40,000ha of land as well as the “Cultural and Tourism City”.

Keriya said the protected zones are untouchable and are prohibited from being purchased to build hotels, restaurants or karaoke establishments.

The “Cultural and Tourism City” covers about 500ha of land and is able to be developed to hotels and resorts but need approval after evaluation from the International Coordinating Committee for the Safeguarding and Development of the Historic Site of Angkor.

“We welcome investment in new resorts to offer more choices to the growing number of tourists in Siem Reap,” she said. “But, we don’t welcome investment in casinos and the gambling business here.”


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