Gaining majority

The Cyprus government has given permission for Melco International Development Limited to buy the interest held by Hard Rock International Inc. in the joint integrated resort project in Cyprus, giving the majority stake to Lawrence Ho’s company

Melco International Development Limited received approval from the Cyprus gaming authorities to purchase a 35.37 per cent interest owned by Hard Rock International Inc. in a joint casino resort project in the European country, a Hong Kong Stock Exchange filing yesterday revealed.
The purchase deal is expected to be concluded today, with the company owned by local businessman Lawrence Ho to hold a majority stake of 70.74 per cent in the integrated resort project, with the remaining share held by Cyprus Phassouri (Zakaki) Limited (CPZL).
A joint bid made by Melco International, Hard Rock and CPZL was granted a gaming licence on June 26 by the Cyprus government to develop, operate and maintain an integrated casino resort in the country’s southern city of Limassol and up to four satellite casino premises in Cyprus for a 30 year period.
The licence also granted exclusive rights for gaming exploration for the first 15 years, with no additional gaming licences being granted in the country during the period.
The Cyprus Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister, Yiorgos Lakkotrypis, said in June that the Limassol casino resort would cost more than 500 million euros (MOP4.80 billion/US$596.92 million) to build, with the project to include a 500-room hotel and a casino with 136 gambling tables and 1,200 gambling machines, news agency Associated Press reported at the time.
According to Spectrum Gaming Capital (SGC) - a New York company that advised CPZL in the joint bid - a temporary casino in Limassol and the four satellite casinos will be operational in 2018, with the first phase of the integrated resort to be completed in 2020.
The first phase of the integrated resort was also said to include 70,000 square feet of gaming space, 15 food and beverage venues and a water park, SGC informed in a press release in July.