Canada’s largest casino and entertainment company, Gateway Casinos & Entertainment Ltd, is currently discussing a sale-leaseback agreement for as many as three Vancouver properties worth upwards of C$500 million (US$378 million) with North America and Asia investors, according to what top company execs reportedly told Reuters.
A deal is expected to be signed by the Burnaby, British Columbia-based company by the third quarter of 2017, as revealed to Reuters by Gateway Executive Chairman Gabriel de Alba in an interview last week. He did not, however, disclose the names of the interested parties.
The news agency reports that upon being approached by both international and local developers interested in the acquisition and development of the Vancouver properties, de Alba said that Gateway, initiated a formal review process to monetize its real estate portfolio. The company also reportedly said that European firms had expressed interest as well.
Included in Gateway’s portfolio are licenses for land which is not developed and without facilities. According to Reuters, with the exception of the three Vancouver sites, Gateway declined to provide the total value of its real estate portfolio. De Alba said, “Now that we’re formalizing the process, we’re reaching out to other bidders and certainly as the process is known, some other bidders are jumping on board as well,” Reuters reports.
The Catalyst Capital Group Inc, a Toronto-based private equity firm, purchased Gateway Casinos in 2010, after which it restructured Gateway, reduced its debt by approximately C$1 billion and gave it a C$200 million infusion of new capital. De Alba is also a managing director and partner at Catalyst.
After recently expanding its operations in Ontario, Gateway could at some point launch an initial public offering (IPO), which would be subject to capital market conditions, said Chief Executive, Tony Santo, in the Reuters interview. Santo said that an IPO could help to finance additional opportunities Gateway is currently working on, such as further expanding in Ontario or greenfield developments in the Canadian province of British Colombia. De Alba reportedly told Reuters that Gateway discarded its 2012 IPO plans, and instead performed a dividend recapitalization allowing the company’s owners to recoup some of its investments without a reduction of their stake in it.
De Alba said after restructuring in 2011, Gateway has gone from nine properties to 28 and from an EBITDA of C$93 million to an EBITDA target of more than C$235 million in 2018.