HK News: Is Paul Suen’s Casino Purchase an indication of things to come?

Paul Suen Cho-hung has been a busy bee of late. Not content with his mass of Hong Kong listings, he has now launched a bid to buy a London-based casino from Hong Kong listed company Landing International for a whopping HK$2.5billion (£242million).

Hong Kong Stock Exchange

The deal, which was reported by GGRAsia here was also confirmed in an announcement to the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong here.

The announcement confirms that Suen will buy Jolly Champion Holding Ltd, a BVI company which is indirect owner of Les Ambassadeurs Ltd, an English company whose principal operation is the Les Ambassadeurs Club and Casino.

Suen will pay a consideration of HK$2.5billion which includes repaying a loan from Landing International to the club of approximately HK$1,698,460,000. He has ten days from September 7 to pay a deposit of HK$1Billion.

Does this have anything to do with Blues?

The short answer to that is no. I’ve pointed out consistently that Paul Suen has many other business interests other than BCFC – and this is one of those.

I’ve also mentioned my firm belief that Paul Suen isn’t the source of money for the recent spending with the appointment of Ren Xuandong as director signalling a new power behind the scenes.

So why mention it?

The thing that most intrigues me about this deal is that Suen isn’t using one of his HK listed companies to buy the club and casino.

I can’t say this with any certainty, but my gut feeling is that Suen is buying a profit making BVI-based company – according to the announcement the club made HK$28.4million after tax in 6 months ending June 2017 – to get his money out of Hong Kong.

I’ve spoken before of the restrictions the Chinese government are placing on external investment.

While Hong Kong technically isn’t under the same rules as China under the “one country, two systems” arrangement, the bald fact is on the ground China has been exerting more and more influence on the former colony.

If people like Suen are moving money directly into tax havens in the Caribbean without using it to buy into Hong Kong listed companies, are they doing it ahead of any restrictions on them moving it in the future?

I personally wouldn’t be surprised if the HKSE are leaned on a bit by the authorities when it comes to new investments to ensure that they don’t fall foul of these new rules.

And while I don’t think Suen is going to do anything long term with BCFC or Birmingham Sports Holdings, the fact remains that BSH is a Hong Kong listed company – and thus could potentially fall under the same rules.

 

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