Philippines Melco Resorts and Entertainment Delisting from Stock Exchange Takes Effect Today

Posted on: June 11, 2019, 05:27h. 

Last updated on: June 11, 2019, 08:37h.

Melco Resorts and Entertainment (Philippines) delisting from the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) is to take place today for the company not having a high enough percentage of the investing public owning its stock.

Melco Chairman And Chief Executive Officer Lawrence Ho’s subsidiary in the Philippines is to be delisted from the nation’s stock exchange. (Image: Macau Business)

The memo announcing the order was released this month by exchange President and CEO Ramon Monzon. No additional memos announcing last-minute compliance were distributed.

Companies are “suspended from trading for a period of not more than six … months and shall be automatically delisted if it remains non-compliant … after the lapse of the suspension period,” the memo explained.

At least 10 percent of a company’s stock must be held by the investing public. The public only owned 3.9 percent of the company’s stock as of Dec. 10, according to the Manila Standard — and it was slightly over 2 percent on Monday, according to multiple news reports.

The delisting is not surprising given the PSE announced the situation in a May 14 memo. Earlier, in December, the exchange suspended trading of the stock.

It will take five years for Melco to once again be able to apply to be listed on the PSE, according to the Philippine Canadian Inquirer.

Roots of Conflict

The issue that led to the delisting involves a tender offer by MCO Investors Ltd. That company is Melco’s principle shareholder.

Last September, MCO was going to delist Melco voluntarily. But after complaints were voiced by smaller shareholders, MCO backed away from delisting.

A conflict arose over the valuation for the tender offer — basically a proposal to sell back investments to shareholders for PHP7.25 (US $0.14) a share.

Melco officials also questioned the wisdom of remaining on the PSE. Last year, they complained the PSE listing did not help Melco find new revenue.

Despite the dispute, a tender offer went through and was completed on Nov. 29. It led to the upping of the number of shares owned by MCO.

As of last December, MCO had 5.462 billion common shares. That represents some 96.1 percent of the company’s stock.

In the Philippines, Melco is perhaps best known for operating City of Dreams Manila casino resort. The $1.3 billion venue opened in 2014, and includes six hotel towers and an 18,000-square-foot gaming floor.

Melco Resorts and Entertainment (Philippines) is a subsidiary of Melco Resorts & Entertainment. The parent company is traded on the Nasdaq exchange based in New York City.

President Changes View on Gaming

Gambling became an issue in the recent mid-term election in the Philippines. Many political allies of President Rodrigo Duterte were elected to legislative posts.

In May, Duterte admitted during a political rally he could no longer “control” gambling in the Southeast Asian nation. It looked like he would let individuals decide for themselves about taking part in popular forms of gaming.

Duterte also has announced he wanted the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) to make the Philippines “the top gaming and entertainment destination” in Southeast Asia by 2020. PAGCOR operates and regulates casinos in the country.

No new licenses were issued recently for land-based gaming venues in the Philippines. But online gambling operations in the country have strengthened over the past several years.

Melco Seeks License in Japan

Melco has numerous gambling operations and is currently trying to capture one of three licenses likely to be issued for an integrated resort in Japan. Melco already operates three venues in the Chinese gaming enclave of Macau.

Another Melco venue is scheduled to open on Cyprus in 2021. The casino is predicted to become the largest in all of Europe.