9 JANUARY 2002

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Dragonara Casino owners take over major French casino group

Accor - the French corporate services provider, casinos group and owner of St Julian’s Dragonara Casino- is on its way to achieving its ambition to become the largest casino operator in Europe. Following a take-over bid to purchase outstanding shares of Compagnie Europeenne de Casino at a price of 52 euros per share, valued at EUR258 million. This share price represents a premium of 36 per cent over the average share price over the past three months.

The recent merger on 16 December between Compagnie Europeenne de Casino, with 22 casinos and gross revenues totalling approximately EUR240 million, and Accor, with 16 casinos, will create the leading French casino group, a significant step in the process of concentration within the gaming industry – a strong growth sector in the Europe market.

This operation doubles the size of Accor Casinos and fits perfectly with Accor's overall strategy. It will also have a positive impact on earnings in 2002 as well as the group's financial structure.

The French casino market is the largest in Europe and Accor is well positioned to consolidate and develop the European casino market as a leading player with 172 casinos and more than 40 per cent of the market. As yet, no pan-European player exists but Accor in co-operation with Colony Capital, a US-based investment fund, are well placed to become the leading casino group in the European market. With a favourable trend in the evolution of casino regulation issues in Europe, the widespread opening of establishments to a well-diversified Customer base. Accor is set to become a major player in this growing market.

With 145,000 associates in 140 countries, Accor is one of the world's largest groups in the travel, tourism and corporate services with over 3,600 hotels in 90 countries. Corporate services include food voucher marketing, incentive programmes, people care services and event management.

 



The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07
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