Hong Kong - The Hong Kong stock market debut of Macau's casino mogul Stanley Ho's flagship company was on Wednesday delayed as a result of a legal challenge by Ho's sister Winnie.
Ho's Sociedade de Jogos de Macau (SJM) Holdings Ltd, which owns 18 of the 28 casinos in the former Portuguese enclave, was due to begin trading Thursday.
However, the company said in a statement Wednesday it had postponed its debut until July 16 in view of the legal challenge presented to the court by Winnie Ho on Monday and Tuesday.
It said its directors believed the judicial review "constituted significant new information which might be material to investors' ability to make an informed assessment of the company."
It also said that successful share applicants could if they wish withdraw their applications.
The news comes just hours before a Hong Kong High Court is set to announce its decision on whether the stock market listing should proceed following the latest legal challenge by Winnie Ho who has been trying to block the 494 million US dollar initial public offering.
There are now 35 pending legal actions in Macau and five in Hong Kong initiated by Winnie Ho against Stanley Ho.
In her latest challenge Winnie Ho is asking the court to review decisions by the stock exchange and Securities and Futures Commission over the public offering, alleging inaccuracies in the company's listing prospectus.
In the statement announcing the delay Wednesday, SJM warned investors that the value of the shares might be "significantly diminished" if they were issued and then as an indirect effect of the court order shares were suspended or de-listed.
SJM is one of the major casino operators in Macau and competes with Wynn Resorts and Galaxy Entertainment operating 1,412 tables and 3,702 slot machines.
Macau - dubbed the Las Vegas of the East - is the only place in China where gambling is legal and draws in millions of gamblers a year, mainly from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Its gaming industry has boomed since 2003 when it was opened up to overseas operators, ending a 40-year monopoly by Stanley Ho. (dpa)