Suncity boosts stake in Russia’s largest casino operator Summit Ascent to majority position

Suncity boosts stake in Russia’s largest casino operator Summit Ascent to majority position

Hong Kong-listed Suncity Group Holdings Ltd. has confirmed that it has boosted its stake in Russian casino operator Summit Ascent Holdings from 24.74 per cent to 69.78 per cent at a cost of approximately HK$1.24 billion (US$160m).

Suncity Group Holdings Ltd. is an offshoot of Asia’s largest casino junket operator called Suncity Group, which is controlled by Alvin Chau. The stake in the Russian casino operator has been acquired by Suncity Group in partnership with its wholly-owned auxiliary unit Victor Sky.

Summit Ascent is the operators of the Tigre de Cristal casino, which is located in the Far East Primorye gaming zone outside Vladivostok region of Russia. Suncity Group initially acquired a small stake in the Russian casino operator in the year of 2018, and then kept boosting its stake. One year ago, it boosted its stake in the Russian casino operator to roughly 28 per cent. After that increase in Suncity’s stake, its owner Mr. Chau was appointed the chairman of Summit Ascent.

In a newly released statement, the Russian casino operator also announced its plans to boost its share capital to HK$150 million divided into 6 billion shares from HK$80 million divided into 3.2 billion shares. The company is widely expected to raise roughly HK$1.63 billion through these transactions. Nearly HK$600 million from that amount will be utilized to construct the second phase of Tigre de Cristal Casino.

Most of the remaining proceeds will be used by the Russian casino operator to acquire some convertible bonds in Suntrust Home Developers Inc., which is also owned and controlled by Mr. Chau. It is worth-mentioning here that Suncity Group Holdings has recently also boosted its stake in Suntrust from 51 per cent to 74.4 per cent.

Suntrust is in the process of constructing an integrated resort (IR) project in Manila. The IR in question will be known as City Resorts, which will offer a 400-room state-of-the-art 5-star hotel and a luxury casino with nearly four hundred gaming tables and more than a thousand slot machines when it opens its doors to the public sometime in 2023.

Mr. Chau’s investments in the past few years indicate that he has been following a sweeping program to diversify his business by shifting away from supplying high-rolling gamblers to casinos to become a full-fledged casino operator. In addition to the massive Manila project, Suncity’s two more casino projects are under development in Cambodia and Vietnam.