Landmarks casino licence issue still cloudy

The question of whether Landmarks has the necessary approvals to set up a casino in Bintan Island in Indonesia remains unanswered.

After the company’s annual general meeting (AGM) yesterday, its chief operating officer Lim Boon Soon refused to clarify on the status of the company’s plans to build a casino in the island and whether they have obtained the necessary approvals.

“We have said what we want to say in the press release,” Lim said when contacted by The Edge Financial Daily. The press release distributed to reporters after the company’s AGM here yesterday mentioned nothing on the gaming licence.

According to an official of Landmarks, none of the shareholders raised the issue of the proposed casino in Bintan Island during the meeting. Landmarks directors left after the AGM without meeting reporters.

Landmarks wholly-owned subsidiary, Bintan Treasure Bay Pte Ltd (BTB), owns a 338ha land on Indonesia’s Bintan Island, which was designated as an exclusive integrated tourism zone (EITZ) in January. It acquired the entire interest in BTB through two transactions totalling RM772.2 million. The first transaction was completed last May and the second last month.

An analyst said that it is still uncertain if Landmark could secure the gaming licence, given that Indonesia will hold its election next year.

“Gaming licence is a very sensitive issue in a Muslim country, especially with the impending elections. However, I believe that they will try their very best (to gain the licence) since they have fully acquired BTB,” the analyst said.

“Landmarks sold out most of their assets under their balance sheet and business reorganisation programme, and focused on this project,” the analyst added.

Landmarks disposed of Sungei Wang Plaza Sdn Bhd, 26% stake in Shangri-la Hotels (M) Bhd, Archipelago Resorts Sdn Bhd, Teknologi Tenaga Perlis Consortium Sdn Bhd since last year. These disposals have collectively raised total cash of RM875.9 million.

The analyst said that the gaming licence helps very much in attracting tourists, and the project would be less attractive if Landmarks fails to get the licence.

“We can see the risk of the uncertainty of this gaming licence on share price. Its share price has been dropping,” the analyst added.

Landmarks yesterday closed three sen lower at RM1.67, with 295,000 shares transacted.