Shares of Macau casino operator Melco Crown Entertainment Limited began trading on the main board of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong on Wednesday, December 7.
The company already trades on the NASDAQ under the symbol “MPEL.” The new Hong Kong listing is in addition to the NASDAQ and does not involve the issuance of any new shares at this time.
Lawrence Ho, co-chairman and CEO of Melco Crown Entertainment, in a press release announcing the move, said, “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 enhanced liquidity and enable local and Asian investors to directly access investment opportunities in our company, thus broadening our investor base.
“We believe a listing by introduction is consistent with the company’s disciplined and proactive approach to managing its capital structure, providing the company with an additional channel, via the SEHK’s mature and liquid platform, to raise future capital.”
In a separate announcement dated November 29, the company said the shareholders’ loans provided in 2006 by wholly-owned subsidiaries of major shareholders Melco International Development Limited and Crown Limited had been converted into 40,211,930 ordinary shares of Melco Crown Entertainment Limited at the conversion price of $2.87 per share.
Ho said in the SEHK dual listing announcement, “As evidenced by the recent conversion of shareholder loans into equity, we continue to have the full commitment of our controlling shareholders, which demonstrates their confidence in the long-term prospects of Melco Crown Entertain-ment and the Macau market as a whole.”
Sterne Agee Analyst David Bain, writing in a note, said, “Outside of Macau Studio City, equity requirements of which can be done out of cash on hand, the only other relatively near-term capital requirement of significance is the company’s $360 million RMB Bonds due May CY13, which can also be paid out of cash on hand or refinanced, in our view.”