Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Revisiting the British Virgin Islands

The Aquis saga rolls on. A flying visit from the Premier has again raised the prospect of the Reef Casino licence being allowed to cover the Aquis proposal: Let's get Aquis on the move for Cairns

It was only yesterday that Fung Jnr was reported as saying this approach was "too complicated" and they would continue to seek a separate licence under the current process which allows for two new "integrated resorts" in regional Qld.

Now today there has also surface further news on a proposal in the Whitsundays:  Zelong Group and Esteem Capital Success to develop casino resort in Airlie Beach

As previously posted there may be an obvious reason why Aquis would prefer a separate licence if it restricts competition. The Premier's scheme would appear to potentially imply three new regional developments.

There has also been some confusion on the reported $269 million price for Reef Casino. The bid values the listed trust (RCT) at $216.83 million which is explicitly stated in the announcement. The higher reported amount appears to cover three other entities being:

Reef Corporate Services Limited as responsible entity for RCT.
Casinos Austria International (Cairns) Pty Ltd as the operator/manager of Reef Hotel Casino.
Casino Canberra Ltd which is also currently held by Casinos Austria.

I'm not sure if there has been any detail provided of how the additional $52 million for these entities is split? The Canberra casino is quite small. Agreements on these entities have been entered into by "separate related bodies corporate of Aquis".

The bid for RCT is being made by Aquis Casino Acquisitions Pty Ltd. As previously posted this is a company with 100 x $1 shares held directly by Tony Fung of Hong Kong. The "separate related bodies corporate" are not named however a quick ASIC search throw up five related companies registered on February 7th:


The two (AUS) holding companies here are the ones which hold the shares in the related subsidiary companies. They are all 1 x $1 share companies. The share in the two (AUS) companies are held by an entity in the British Virgin islands (BVI). This is the ASIC extract for Aquis Reef Holdings (Aus) Pty Ltd:

The ultimate holding company for all these entities is listed as: TF Reef - Canberra Holdings Pty Ltd, Org No: 167934607, presumably also a BVI entity. I also presume these are the "related bodies corporate" referred to in the takeover announcement?
I previously posted on the revealed leaked links of Tony Fung to corporate entities in the BVI: The man from the British Virgin Islands
Probably there should be no surprise to find a wealthy individual whose claimed wealth is somewhat opaque linked this way, even if the BVI is among the more notorious tax havens.
I am more surprised to find that direct links from a BVI entity to a casino licence in an Australian jurisdiction should be regarded as appropriate?
1) There is also a new additional director for these new entities: Ching Fai Or. There is a background in HK banking and also chairman of Esprit. The performance of Esprit has been rather dismal since he took the chair with more than half its value wiped out, and his other current public gigs ain't too flash either.
2) There are suggestions again of an EIS being submitted. We still have no idea why the initial EIS was returned.
3) If the Premier is prepared to split a casino licence to include Aquis then shouldn't that mean the value of the current RCT licence may be far above anything included in the current bid price?

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