Australia: Aquis to sell Casino Canberra to Oscars Group for $36 million

Australian integrated resort developer and operator aquatic entertainment has signed a share purchase agreement with Capital Leisure and Entertainmenta subsidiary of the New South Wales hotel company, Oscars Group, for the sale of 100% of its shares in Aquis Canberra for 52 million Australian dollars ($36 million).

With the sale, Oscars Group would acquire 100% of the shares of Casino Canberry Ltd., which holds the license to operate Casino Canberra. The sale is conditional on Aquis shareholder approval and ACT’s casino liquor and licensing regulatory approvals.

The AUD 52 million ($36 million) is on a debt and cash free basis with the only requirement that Aquis Canberra must be transferred at least AUD 3 million ($2.1 million) in cash to meet certain casino regulatory requirements. Completion is expected to occur at the end of the third quarter of 2022.

Allison Gallaugher, CEO of Aquis and Casino Canberra, said: “The transaction provides considerable value to the company and its shareholders. He acknowledges the attractive operating performance of the company, which has continued to operate well since reopening following the Covid-19 closures. As an employee of Casino Canberra, I am also very excited about the future and working with Oscars on the continuous improvement of our business.”

Mario Gravanis, Director of the Oscars Group, commented: “We are excited about the opportunity to acquire the Casino Canberra business. We will work closely with Aquis over the next few months to meet the necessary conditions. precedent with minimal disruption to business and we look forward to working with the Casino Canberra team in the future.”

Aquis will use the money from the sale to evaluate alternative business opportunities, pay off debt, and pay off some or all of the convertible loan between Aquis and Aquis Canberra, which currently has a balance of $33 million ($22.8 million).

Casino Canberra sale comes after Aquis failed to reach an agreement with the Government of the Australian Capital Territory on a proposed AUD 330 million (USD 226 million) redevelopment of the property.

Aquis, which bought Casino Canberra in 2014, submitted its original redevelopment plans in 2015, including an application for permission to install up to 500 slot machines: Casino Canberra is it is not allowed to operate slot machines according to current legislation.

However, the company’s initial offer was rejected in December 2018.and the government described the proposal as untenable due to current uncertainty around regulation and financial details.

Instead, the ACT government issued a counteroffer under that Aquis would be allowed to operate 200 slot machines and 60 EGMs subject to certain strict conditions. Aquis rejected the reduced offer.

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