Taiwan-listed First Steamship Acquires Shares in Casino Developer Summit Ascent

This week has brought a lot of development around the Hong Kong-listed Summit Ascent Holdings Ltd. as shares of it are being sold and bought again. It was announced that First Steamship Co. Ltd. is planning to branch out and explore new markets, as it acquired some 189 million ordinary shares of Kaisheng Holdings Ltd. The purchase has been finalized with ordinary shares priced at HK$1.05 (US$0.13). This amount equals almost 12.67 percent of Summit Holdings, the leading developer of Tigre de Cristal casino resort which is located in the Russian Far East.

The said acquisition of shares was conducted by the subsidiary of the shipping operator which goes by the name of Heritage Riches Ltd. As confirmed in the filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange in Taipei, Taiwan, it cost a total of HK$1.98 million. The move was later justified as a long-term investment, as the company is willing to explore the wide world of Primorye and the benefits it has on offer. This November saw the shares of the company surge by as much as 1.63 percent, which means that each share jumped by 0.13. As of then, the corporation had a total float of 630.88 million shares, while the stock had a 52-week low of 6.9 and high of 11.1.

For the time being it has not been confirmed whether the Summit Ascent shares which the company purchased are the same ones which casino mogul Lawrence Ho divested this Monday. First Steamship might have seen an opportunity to make a dent in the progressive holding, but an official announcement has not been made. It could be recalled that as many as 20 million shares in Summit Ascent previously owned by Mr. Ho were sold this week since the Asian businessman is looking for prospective opportunities for development somewhere else. At the same time, Quick Glitter, a company which he wholly owns also sold as much as 16.03 percent of the 238.6 million shares the holding’s issued share capital.

Reason for Shares Unloading

Lawrence Ho’s share represented almost 1.34 percent of the holding and by unloading it he put an end to his role as a direct shareholder in the developing gambling operator. By the 20th December, the respective share placings of the two companies should be finalized. It is a known fact that Tigre de Cristal is currently the sole integrated resort in the region of the Pacific port of Vladivostok. This makes it the only casino facility which is in operation in the Primorsky Krai investment zone.

One of the reasons why big names in the gambling industry like Mr. Ho are making the move to sell their shares in the holding might be the expected increase to the taxes which casinos have to pay to the Russian authorities. As a result of the changes Summit Ascent’s earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation, and amortization for 2018 could be reduced by as much as 6 percent. This was announced by brokerage Union Gaming Securities Asia Ltd in a note issued at the end of November.

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