Last week, the main shareholder in Summit Ascent Holdings Ltd confirmed that they were considering selling off their shares in the company. First Steamship Co Ltd, the primary shareholder in Summit Ascent with nearly 20% of the stock, announced their plans to take their money and go home.
On April 9, First Steamship provided a filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange which confirms that the company is looking to sell off their assets to a third-party. Summit Ascent, which is the promoter of Tigre dee Cristal, one of the largest resort casinos in Russia, could very well have the same group of current investors who would be purchasing additional shares, according to the report.
First Steamship currently owns over 285 million shares in the casino resort promoter, or approximately 19.25%. While no official confirmation has been provided, it seems likely that the company will be having an additional set of shareholders soon.
The timing of this move is interesting, as Suncity Group had just bought the equity position of Summit Ascent in the Macau casino in February. Suncity had already owned 3.3% of the shares in Summit Ascent, but had increased their shares to an undisclosed amount. Now many are speculating that they are one of the investors looking to increase their shares as First Steamship sells off their holdings.
This also appears to be a shrewd move by Suncity Group, as a Taiwanese group that was looking to start casino operations in Russia lost their bid to begin building operations earlier this month. If Suncity increases its shares in Summit Ascent, it would likely give them the inside track to earn the contract for the new casino operations, especially considering that they would already be a major investor in one of the primary casino promoters.
In a statement to the media in Taiwan on Monday, a spokesman for First Steamship, Lee Shih Ming, explained the rationality behind the move. It appears that the company’s desire to make a long-term investment in Summit Ascent was not tolerable. Despite the growth of the revenue at Tigre de Cristal, executives at First Steamship simply did not want to be involved in the long-term operations related to the company.
Last month, Summit Ascent announced that their profit for 2018 was HKD7.6 million ($970,000), and they are expecting to see those numbers increase to as much as HKD13.8 million ($1.76 million) by the end of this year. The year 2021 could see even more sizable gains as the second phase of construction at the Russian-based casino will be completed.