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CR75-p04-euro-west1:SJC-Casino Review 20/12/08 21:33 Page 1
over Codere
The Martínez Sampedro family, the owners of Codere who are in
default of their final payment to the Francos, have approached
Novomatic for investment in the company, it has been reported.
More than 70 per cent of the company is for sale: the Sampedros
are believed to want to retain control of the company through a
core group of related shareholders. Brothers Joaquin and Jesus
Franco may also be interested in buying the company back.
Conai increases its presence
in new Catalan operator
The structure of the group that won the tender for the Gran Casino Costa Brava in
October 2006 has changed over the two year period since it was awarded the licence to
operate the fourth casino in Catalonia from the Catalan Autonomous Government.
Phil Martin reports on the new shareholding.
casinochameleon company in the Catalan gaming such as Conei, did not become the Gran Hotel Monterrey,
SPAIN sector which has participated in involved in the deal. which is situated in the centre
the project from the outset. MGA However, in June of this year of Lloret. It will boast 22 tables
The Conai Group has been (owned by the Sanahuja family) Emilio Rodríguez changed its and 150 gaming machines; a mul-
upping its shareholding in the now has a 10 per cent holding strategy and decided to put up tipurpose conference centre
new casino destined for Lloret with the remaining shares dis- for sale its shares in Gran Casino with a capacity of 1,000 people;
de Mar in Catalunya to be called tributed between the hotel Costa Brava. The purchaser was a landscaped area of more than
Gran Casino Costa Brava. company Guitart, which owns Joan Lao, who is now the presi- 6,000 meters squared, and a
Conai boss Joan Lao has 17.59 per cent and the Binelde dent of the company and the restaurant run by the Michelin-
strengthened his control by Group, which owns 2.39 per leader of the project. starred Ramon Freixa.
increasing his holding in the cent and chaired by the busi- Conei, wants to complete Alongside this, the Gran
company from 55 per cent to nessman Xavier González. construction of the venue by Hotel Monterrey has invested
70.02 per cent for E5m. Lao At that time there was an even 2009 meaning the project will around E30m to transform it
gained the licence to operate balance of force within the have been completed in just 12 into a five star hotel
the casino in October 2006. company, as five partners held months. If this target is met, the The new casino will employ
The operating group has 20 per cent of the shares each. new gaming hall will open its 247 people and will be managed
changed beyond all recognition The Guitart Group gave up part doors to the public in Decem- by Victor Tàpies, a professional
to the one which beat off com- of the gardens of the Hotel Mon- ber next year; thus forcing the with more than twenty years
petition from Cirsa, the Peral- terrey de Lloret to accommo- closure of the existing casino experience in the sector. Tàpies,
ada Group, in association with date the casino, which is now operated by the Peralada who now works closely with
Planeta y Godó, and the owners under construction. At that stage Group, which also owns the the team that Conei has made
of the Casino de Bilbao. the other 80 per cent belonged casinos in Perelada, Barcelona available for the project, was,
Lao has been steadily increas- to the Atzaria consortium, con- and Tarragona. until 2002, the manager of the
ing his holding in the company sisting of four Catalan gaming The new Lloret de Mar casinos division at Cirsa and has
taking it to 55 per cent at the companies: Conei, Rodríguez casino will involve an invest- managed casinos in Las Palmas,
end of July, when he purchased Villar, MGA-New Park and ment of E40m. This figure will Marbella and Buenos Aires.
the shareholding held by the Binelde. The balance between be financed in full by share- Conei was established in
Rodríguez Villar Group, owner the shareholders began to falter holders’ contributions, as the 1998, when Joan Lao decided
of Bingo Billares of Barcelona. when Rodríguez Villar took the company Gran Casino Costa to sell to his brother Manuel
Conei has now underwritten bulk of Binelde’s shares, giving it Brava has not applied for any the 44 per cent shareholding
the bulk of an increase in capital a 35 per cent holding. kind of bank credit. he held in the gaming group
taking his share capital in the After another increase in Gran Casino Costa Brava has Cirsa. After ten years of going it
casino to around E20.7m capital was approved, Rodríguez been designed by the architec- alone, Conei has a turnover of
The new injection of cash has Villar, which had assumed the tural firm b-720, headed by E270m and a gaming portfolio
also been partially underwritten presidency, increased its holding Fermín Vázquez and is located that includes eight bingo halls
by MGA-New Park, another further, as other shareholders, in the emblematic gardens of and 14 casinos. The plans for the new venue in Lloret de Mar
Lisbon celebrates 5m visitors with 150 new slots
fivealive R8 and the chance to take part in 6.18 per cent, the Casino of Póvoa
PORTUGAL the Audi Sportscar Experience at 10.26 per cent, Figueira 6.62 per
the Estoril Racetrack. The winner, cent and Espinho 11.48 per cent. In
During Casino Lisboa’s cere- who was on her first visit to the Algarve, there was a reduction
mony to celebrate its five mil- Casino Lisboa, also won a dinner of 6.27 per cent in Vilamoura and of
lionth visitor, chairman of its cruise on board the ‘Lisboa Vista 14.26 per cent in Monte Gordo.
owner Estoril Sol Mário Assis do Tejo’ and another dinner at the Assis Ferreira fears that the crisis
Ferreira announced that two and ‘Visions: O Espírito dos sonhos’ will extend throughout 2009.
half years after the opening of show at Casino Estoril. Ferreira, who is also chairman
the casino, and due to growth in So far, the casino has allo- of the board of the Portuguese
demand, the number of slot cated E43m to the city for build- Association of Casinos, believes
machines will be increased from ing work in rundown areas. the crisis presents a challenge
1,000 to 1,150 and the number In a year of downturn for the to discover fresh opportunities
of gaming tables from 25 to 30. Portuguese casino sector, and new ways of doing busi-
The five millionth visitor to the Lisbon’s revenues for the first six ness. He said that ‘investing
venue won an all-inclusive months of the year remained means beating the crisis’.
weekend at a luxury hotel with strong, increasing by 11per cent. In line with this, the Casino
spa, New Year’s Eve at Casino However in October, revenues fell of Póvoa will be remodelled, as
Lisboa with dinner at Spot LX, a from E31.9m to E30.1m. Casino will Estoril, and the shows will
weekend at the wheel of an Audi Estoril recorded a reduction of be restructured.
4 January 2009 • europewestnews
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