Melco Resorts Delisting From Philippines Stock Exchange, Files to Trade Macau Studio City on NASDAQ

Posted on: September 11, 2018, 01:30h. 

Last updated on: September 11, 2018, 01:41h.

Melco Resorts and Entertainment is voluntarily delisting its subsidiary company from the Philippines Stock Exchange (PSE), and one financial institution thinks that’s a positive strategic move.

Melco Resorts stock shares Macau
Lawrence Ho wants to place ownership shares of Melco Resorts’ Studio City up for trading on NASDAQ. (Image: GGRAsia)

Board members of Melco Resorts signed off on delisting Melco Resorts Philippines, the latter which owns City of Dreams Manila in the capital’s Entertainment City. The $1.3 billion integrated casino resort opened in 2014 and features six hotel towers, and 18,000-square-foot casino floor offering more than 1,600 slot machines and 360 table games.

Sanford C. Bernstein analysts Vitaly Umansky, Zhen Gong, and Kelsey Zhu said in a note this week that removing the company from the PSE makes sense.

Melco plans to make a “tender offer,” or proposal to shareholders to sell back their investments, at PHP 7.25 per share. Melco stock on the PSE closed at PHP 6.90 on Monday, meaning the company is offering a roughly five percent premium.

Favorable Move

Should all outstanding shareholders take Melco Resorts up on their offer, the company would pay about PHP 11.19 billion, or $208.1 million, to take the public shares private and delist.

“We view this as a very favorable price,” the Bernstein analysts stated. “While the tender price is at a premium to recent trading (as would be necessary to facilitate the tender), it is a 21 percent discount to the highest price reached.”

The analysts believe eliminating the Philippines subsidiary from public trading also simplifies the company’s overall ownership structure, and will help pave the way for future expansion. Company officials say the PSE listing hasn’t done much in the way of generating new revenue.

Melco, along with nearly every other major casino operator in the world, is hoping to land one of the initial three gaming licenses in Japan. The company is also in the process of building City of Dreams Mediterranean, a roughly $650 million integrated resort in Cyprus.

New Wall Street Opportunity

Along with announcing that it plans to delist in the Philippines, Melco Resorts confirmed it has filed paperwork with the US Securities and Exchange Commission to hold an initial public offering (IPO) in its Studio City entertainment resort in Macau.

Melco is one of six licensed gaming operators in Macau. Studio City, which opened in 2015, is the company’s second massive integrated resort on the Cotai Strip after City of Dreams opened there in 2009.

Studio City was built at a cost of $3.2 billion. Melco, which is already listed on the NASDAQ, controls a 60 percent stake in the casino complex.

The IPO, however, might come at a poor time. Macau casino stocks took a hit this week after new concerns over a potential slowing in the Chinese economy, and ongoing trade war concerns with the US, were highlighted by Deutsche Bank.

The investment firm downgraded its 2019 gross gambling revenue forecast for Macau’s gaming industry from 11 to four percent.