Suncity Group of Hong Kong, listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, has indicated a possible change in control could be coming. The group holds interests and assets in integrated resort developments throughout Macau, Vietnam, Russia and the Philippines. However, the arrest of its former CEO, Alvin Chau, has virtually flipped the company upside down.
Chau Arrest Fallout Not Close to Being Over
Chau, a former chairman and director of Suncity Group, was forced to resign last week after being arrested and detained by Macau authorities for alleged financial laundering, illegal gambling, criminal association and money laundering.
According to a Friday statement, Chau’s wholly held Star Soul Investments Limited had received a note from Wooco Secretarial Services, acting on behalf of a syndicate to lenders, claiming Chau’s arrest means he is in default of a facility agreement. They also demanded full repayment of all loans and interest amounts, totaling HK$313,610.959 ($40.2 million), within five working days.
Wooco will take legal action if they fail to pay. They will then be able to secure repayment by taking over various securities, including the 4,991,643,335 Suncity shares, which represent a controlling 74.85% of Fame Select Ltd. Fame Select is 50% owned and 50% by Cheng Ting Kong.
Wooco could also seek to seize, among other securities, HK$402 million ($51.53 million) in convertible bonds owned by Fame Select that can be converted into 1,546.153,846 Suncity share, HK$177 million ($22.7 million) in convertible bonds by Chau’s wholly-owned Star Hope Ltd that would be worth 196.666,666 Suncity shares and HK$120 million ($15.38 million) in convertible bonds by Suncity executive director Andrew Lo Kai Bong, which can be converted into 133,333,333 Suncity shares, as well as the entire issue capital of Star Hope and Star Hope.
Suncity stated that it did not know how Wooco would deal with the securities in the event of enforcement but said that “Enforcement of Wooco’s securities could lead to a change of control for the Company.”
Suncity’s Future in Peril
It is unclear how such action will impact Suncity’s ongoing operations and development of integrated resorts. This three-way joint venture, which opened Hoiana in Vietnam last year, holds a majority share in Tigre de Cristal from Vladivostok Russia and is building a $1-billion integrated resort at Westside City Resorts World in Manila’s Entertainment City precinct.
Chau was one of the 11 people who were detained by Macau’s Judiciary Police. Chau was then one of six individuals transferred to Coloane Prison as he waited to appear before a judge. Suncity’s Junket entity, which does not directly link to the listed business, officially announced the cessation of its junket service over the weekend. Last week, all Macau VIP Clubs were shut down.