London Clubs mum on bidders

Dec 25, 2001 1:36 AM

London Clubs International, which is majority owner of the Aladdin, said last week it was still in talks with banks about servicing its debts and that it had not received any approaches from prospective buyers.

The firm said it took a hit of 99.8 million pounds ($145 million) in the six months ended September 30, as it wrote down its investments in the bankrupt Aladdin.

“Although the results in the first six months of the year have been disappointing, we are encouraged by the recent, improved levels of trading in our London casinos, which have been achieved despite the events of September 11,” the firm said in a statement. “The directors therefore remain confident that a suitable agreement will be reached with LCI’s lenders and anticipate that these discussions will be concluded in the first quarter of 2002.”

London Clubs freed itself from any further financial obligations to Aladdin in November. Its net debt stood at 234 million pounds ($340 million) on September 30.

London Club’s problems with Aladdin have attracted several prospective buyers for all, or parts, of its business.

Britain’s Stanley Leisure, Rank Group and privately owned Gala Group have all shown interest, while U.S. gaming giants Park Place Entertainment and MGM Mirage are also looking to enter the UK market.

But a spokesman for London Clubs told Reuters the firm was not currently in talks with any prospective buyers.

One industry source suggested suitors were waiting for the firm to reach a deal with its banks before making a move.

London Clubs said that after a drop in business following the September 11 attacks on the United States, trading at its London casinos had recovered to above levels of a year ago.