SJM Holdings’ parent company is being sued for HKD2 billion ($255 million) in unpaid dividends claimed by Michael Hotung, nephew of company founder Stanley Ho and son of Winnie Ho, who passed away last June at the age of 95.
The Macau News Agency, citing a report by Hong Kong-based Headline Daily, said that Hotung’s petition at the Hong Kong High Court sought the payment of dividends due his late mother, for a 7.3% stake in SJM she had held back in 2008, when the company went public.
According to the South China Morning Post, Hotung named among respondents his uncle Stanley and aunt Nanette Ho Yuen-hung. He claimed that the dividends were to be derived from 6,263 shares in Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau (STDM), which owns SJM, shares that Winnie had invested in back in 1962. Hotung is the sole executor of his mother’s will.
Dividends for the STDM shares were said to have been paid from 1962 to 2006. From 2000 to 2006, the yearly issuances ranged between HKD24.18 million ($3.08 million) and HKD77.22 million ($9.85 million), but Hotung claimed that no payments have been made since 2007. He also demanded for the outstanding dividends to be paid with interest.
When STDM was founded in the 1960s, it held a monopoly in Macau’s gambling industry up until 2000, around when Portugal returned the territory to China. From 2002 onwards, the Special Administrative Region’s government has issued licenses for competing casino operators.
Stanley Ho, 97, officially stepped down as SJM chairman only last June. He has had to deal with legal disputes with his sister from the early 2000s onwards. Winnie Ho was ousted from the STDM board in 2005, and she had sued for what she believed was owed to her.