06 July 2005

The Web

Israeli company to buy Casinò di Venezia

James Debono
According to reports in the Italian media, the Casinò di Venezia Spa, will cede 90 per cent of its shares in the Vittoriosa casinò, to the Israeli company Queenco.
A spokesperson for the Ministry for Roads and Urban Development confirmed that the government has met the present owners of the Casino on the Vittoriosa Waterfront yesterday but denied that the Ministry has had any contacts with the new Israeli investors.
Queenco is a publicly traded Israeli company which operates 8 casinos in different countries ranging from Taiwan to Greece.
All eight casinos operated by Queenco are attached to a hotel. Queenco is reported to have an annual turnover of 500 million dollars.
The Ministry’s spokesperson confirmed that the present owners intend to sell both their shares in the Casino and the site of the hotel on the Waterfront.
The government will now be examining the legal parameters involved ahead of the transfer of shares.
According to the reports in the Gazettino Di Venezia Queenco will be paying EUR11 million to become the new majority shareholders in the company operating the Maltese casino.
They will also be investing EUR15 million in the new hotel.
A spokesperson for the Lotteries and Gaming Authority told The Malta Financial and Business Times that “nothing has been finalised yet on the sale of shares.”
According to the Authority’s spokesperson Casinò di Venezia is bound to inform the authority when it finds a buyer.
When a buyer is found the licensee is bound to inform the authority and seek approval for such transfer of shares.
At this stage the authority will “carry out a due diligence on the prospective buyer and depending on the outcome of such due diligence will accede or refuse such a transfer of shares.”
News of the imminent sale of the Casinò di Venezia emerged in May when the Mayor of Venice, Massimo Cacciari launched an ultimatum to the director of the Casinò di Venezia Armando Favaretto.
“The Maltese Casinò should either be sold or rented out. No casinò in the world loses 100,000 euro a month. With that sum of money I would prefer developing a nursery for children.”
Three weeks later, Armando Favaretto, the Director General of the casinò, revealed to the Italian press, that negotiations have already started with prospective buyers of the casino.


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