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Millennium & Copthorne mulls capital return

Millennium & Copthorne mulls capital return if First Sponsor float proceeds

By Paul McBeth

Apr. 23 (BusinessDesk) - Millennium & Copthorne Hotels New Zealand, which operates 22 hotels across the country, is mulling a capital return if the float of Chinese investment First Sponsor Group goes ahead.

The Singapore Exchange has issued an eligibility to list letter for the proposed initial public offering, which will probably be in the third quarter if it proceeds, the Auckland-based company said in a statement.

"In connection with the proposed FGSL (First Sponsor Group) IPO (and as mentioned in the offer document for our recent rights issue), MCK (Millennium) is considering undertaking, return of capital whereby MCK's investment in FSGL would be returned to our shareholders," it said. "MCK wishes to emphasise that no decision has been made as to whether (or when) the proposed capital return will take place and there currently is no certainty that the proposed FSGL IPO will proceed (or as to its timetable)."

Last month Millennium raised about $112 million to maintain its investment in First Sponsor in a capital raising, repay debt and refurbish properties. It has previously said it expects to retain a 31 percent stake in First Sponsor if the float proceeds.

First Sponsor, which has property development interests in China, raised funds to pay for further development in Chendgu City, Sichuan Province, and new land acquisitions in Dongguan City, Guangdong Province.

Shares in Millennium rose 4.8 percent yesterday to 66 cents, and have shed 7 percent this year.


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