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22 November 2011

Melco Crown Entertainment eyes Hong Kong listing by year-end - 21st November 2011

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The Hong Kong securities regulator has begun analysing a possible dual listing of Melco Crown Entertainment and the local gaming operator wants to complete the move by the end of 2011.

Melco said on Friday the Hong Kong securities regulator started to consider its listing proposal the previous day, adding that it aims to complete the Hong Kong listing by year-end.

The company is not planning for a global offering in view of “current market sentiment,” it said in a statement.

Instead of issuing new shares, Melco would instead choose a listing of share already on issue.

But this alternative, called listing by introduction, would raise no additional funds.

The operator was originally expected to raise between USD 400 and 600 million (MOP 3.2 to 4.8 billion) to finance the resumption of the long-delayed Macao Studio City resort.

“We believe our proposed dual listing on the local bourse will not only put us on a par with our competitors, but will also provide our existing shareholders with much enhanced liquidity, while providing us with access to an additional source of capital,” Melco co-chairman Lawrence Ho Yau Lung said in August.

“The company will continue to evaluate future fund raising plans,” Friday’s statement added.
The operator completed the acquisition of a 60 percent share in the project in July and Lawrence Ho said at a press conference that they would invest USD 1.7 billion (MOP 13.7 billion) in the Cotai resort.

The move was welcomed by markets as Melco rose as much as 6 percent in New York trading after the announcement.

The company passed a preliminary listing hearing last month, according to market sources quoted by Hong Kong Economic Times.

Melco also announced that it would convert loans of HKD 899.8 million initially provided in 2006 by its major shareholders into ordinary shares by the end of this month. The operator’s two major shareholders are Lawrence Ho’s Melco International Development and Australian gaming company Crown Limited, headed by James Packer.

“The conversion is deemed appropriate at this time to demonstrate the company’s ability to carry on its business independently of controlling shareholders, as required” under the Hong Kong listing rules, a statement said.

The move “is further evidence of our controlling shareholders’ continuing commitment to the company, as well as their confidence in Macau’s long term prospects,” Melco added.

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