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Further delay for Macau Legend’s acquisition of Siem Reap land

Jose Rodriguez T. Senase / Khmer Times Share:
One of Macau Legend’s hotels in Macau. Supplied

Macau Legend will have to wait a little longer before it can start building what promises to be one of the biggest integrated resorts in Cambodia.

In a filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in December last year, the Macau-headquartered
casino operator said it will delay the purchase of 1,200 hectares of land in Siem Reap. Macau Legend intended to develop the land into an “integrated resort”.

An “integrated resort” usually includes a hotel with a casino together with convention centres, entertainment shows, theme parks, fine dining restaurants and other non-gaming facilities. If the project eventually goes through, it will be one of the largest integrated resorts in the Kingdom.

Giving the seller “more time to fulfill certain conditions” was cited as the reason for the delay. It was agreed, per the filing, that the seller will have to make sure that the property is “freehold land and free and clear of any encumbrances, must have no aboriginal and other villagers or squatters, schools and students, no disputes, no land external mortgage, pledge and guarantee” before the transfer of ownership will be pushed through.

At that time, both parties also agreed to move the start date to June 26, 2020. The original deadline for the acquisition was on December 26, 2019.

Now the purchase has hit another snag and will be delayed again, this time because of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Inside Asian Gaming reported this week that Macau Legend submitted another filing which extended the start date for another year. The deadline for the purchase of land has been moved to June 26, 2021 “due to the delay and difficulties to the process caused by the COVID-19 pandemic”, the report said.

Two years ago, Macau Legend agreed to acquire the massive landholding for $90 million through the purchase of the entire stock of a Cambodian company called Howing Enterprises Co Ltd.

It is unclear if the project will include a casino, because Cambodian laws prohibit the construction of such facilities near Angkor Wat, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Cambodia’s leading tourist destination.

Ros Phirun, a deputy director-general at the Ministry of Commerce, earlier said that gambling near Angkor Wat is not allowed.

Macau Legend owns and operates several hotels, casinos and related facilities in Macau and Laos.

These include the Legend Palace Hotel in Macau and Savan Legend Resorts Hotel and Entertainment Complex in the Laotian city of Savannakhet. It is also considering whether to expand into Vietnam.

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