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NagaCorp issues bonds on HK bourse

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NagaWorld in Phnom Penh. Sreng Meng Srun

NagaCorp issues bonds on HK bourse

Nagacorp, which operates the NagaWorld casino and hotel in Phnom Penh, has become the first Cambodian issuer of offshore bonds, raising $300 million to endorse further growth of its gaming business and to refurbish hotel rooms, according to the firm’s filing in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Tuesday.

The announcement revealed the Cambodian casino operator has entered into a purchase agreement with Credit Suisse (Hong Kong) Ltd and Morgan Stanley in connection with the firm’s issuing of notes in the aggregate amount of $300 million.

The notes, maturing on May 21, 2021, will allow interest at the rate of 9.375 percent per year. The estimated net proceeds from the issuance, after deduction of fees, commissions and expenses, will amount to approximately $290 million.

“The Group intends to use the net proceeds from the Notes to promote the gaming business growth, particularly in our VIP gaming segment, and [to] refurbish the hotel rooms in Naga1,” the filing read. It added the group may adjust the plans in response to changing market conditions and thus may reallocate the use of the proceeds.

NagaCorp, NagaWorld’s parent company, is listed on the Hong Kong bourse. According to the firm’s annual financial report, in 2017 the firm’s gross gaming revenue was $926 million while net profit amounted to $255.2 million. NagaCorp reported paying $8.12 million in income tax last year.

The bonds are expected to be rated B1 by Moody’s and B by S&P. Han Kyung Tae, managing director at Yuanta Securities (Cambodia), said on Wednesday that the bonds are expected to be rated one notch higher than the sovereign rating of Cambodia, where nearly all of NagaCorp’s businesses operate.

“It appears that Cambodian entities could get a higher credit rating if their securities are issued in foreign currencies, US dollars for example,” he said.

The Securities and Exchange Commission of Cambodia last August finalised regulations to establish a corporate bond, moving one step closer to introducing the capital market tool. However, no company has yet issued bonds inside the Kingdom.

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