One more Silver Heritage Group Director resigns

Days after Silver Heritage Group Chairman David Green announced that he was resigning from the board of the company with immediate effect due to personal reasons and to focus on his business interests, yet another director has quit the company.

Non-executive director Richard Barker announced that he was resigning from the company with immediate effect ‘to enable him to focus on other business interests.’

The announcement of the resignation, made by the company to the Australian Stock Exchange also informed the shareholders that Barker will not be standing for re-election to the board at the company’s Annual General Meeting (AGM). The company further stated that the resolution pertaining to Barker’s re-election will be withdrawn from the AGM’s agenda. Silver Heritage’s AGM is scheduled to be held on 25th May.

The Board of Director of Silver Heritage thanked Barker for his inputs and efforts during his tenure as a director. Barker is described on Silver Heritage’s website as an executive ‘specialised in mergers and acquisitions, capital raisings and corporate financial advice’.

With Barker and Green’s resignation, there are only three directors left on the board of the Australian Stock Exchange listed company.

Mike Bolsover continues to be the company’s Managing Director and CEO.  Apart from Bolsover, the company has two independent directors, Matthew Hunter and Robert Benussi.  Hunter functions as the company’s interim CEO after Green’s resignation.

In August 2017, company co-founder Tim Shepherd resigned from the board of the company but as of now he is still supporting the company as an advisor. The company is also embroiled in litigation with its local Nepalese partner Rajendra Bajgain, following allegations that the company’s foreign employees did not obtain proper visas before starting work at the flagship Tiger Palace resort in Bhairahawa.

The series of setbacks and resignations in the company raises concerns about whether the casino operator will be able to smoothly carry out its business in Nepal and Vietnam.


Silver Heritage chairman David Green resigns from board

David Green, the chairman and non-executive director of Australia-listed Silver Heritage Group has resigned from the board of the company with immediate effect, as per a regulatory filing by the company yesterday.

The company stated that Green had resigned ‘for both personal reasons and also to enable him to focus upon other business interests’.

The company also informed that non-executive independent director Matthew Hunter will function as interim chairman of the company until further notice.

In August 2017, Silver Heritage’s co-founder Tim Shepherd had resigned from the company’s board although he continues to be a shareholder and advisor.

The company is also facing litigation from its Nepalese partner Rajendra Bajgain and had terminated its consultancy agreement with him. The termination however was stayed by a local court in Nepal and the company is trying to enter into a settlement agreement with Bajgain.

Silver Heritage operates South Asia’s first integrated casino resort, viz. the Tiger Palace resort at Bhairahawa on the India-Nepal border. The company also operates casinos in Kathmandu and Vietnam.

The company recently reported a loss in terms of adjusted earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for the first quarter of 2018, amounting to US$ 1.9 million.

The company also noted that the Tiger Palace resort had registered 7,500 unique members since its opening in December 2018 and experienced a total footfall of over 22,000 patrons. The total revenues from Tiger Palace resort in the first quarter of 2018 were around US$ 911,000, as per the company.


Two day gala opening of Tiger Palace casino on 16-17 March

Australia-listed and Hong Kong-based Silver Heritage Group has announced a two day extravaganza to mark the formal launch of its Tiger Palace resort and casino, situated at Bhairawaha, on the Nepal side on the Indo-Nepal border.

The grand opening event, scheduled for 16th and 17th March will see dance performances by famous Ukrainian troops and Thai Dancers along with performances by Bollywood’s dance sensations, Natasa Stankovic and Poonam Pandey.

Spread over 22 acres of land, Tiger Palace Resort has 100  rooms and suites along with two private villas, offering uninterrupted scenic views of the mountains and forests surrounding the resort.

The casino in the resort has 44 gaming tables and more 200 electronic gaming machines. The resort amenities include various F&B outlets, a large swimming pool, and a dedicated kids club with a wide array of entertainment options for children. For wellness and relaxation, the resort’s spa offers variety of body treatments and massages, a gym, sauna and steam rooms.

For conferences, meetings, and weddings, Tiger Palace Resort offers multiple venues including a ballroom and an expansive function lawn that can accommodate up to 1,000 guests. The resort also features a 100-year-old Rana temple, which sets the scene perfectly for wedding functions.

Commenting on the development, Tim Shepherd, co-founder and senior advisor of Silver Heritage Group said, “Tiger Palace Resort is our first wholly owned and operated five-star integrated resort in Bhairahawa, Nepal. This resort forms a major part of the Silver Heritage Group’s core growth strategy of focusing on developing casino resorts on the Indo-Nepal border and capitalising on the strong demand from Indian customers for a wholesome entertainment destination.

The immediate target market for the resort comprises of the more than 15 million aspirational middle-class Indian citizens living within six hours of travel from the resort, in states including Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal.”

The soft-launch of the hotel portion of the resort was on 22nd September, 2017 while casino operations were started on 28th December, 2017.

The Tiger Palace resort, touted as the biggest casino resort in South Asia has seen several delays due to lack of regulatory approvals and fund crunch faced by the company due to costs of construction being higher than what was anticipated.

Recently, Silver Heritage Group was mired in a controversy, with the company through a regulatory filing, announcing that they had terminated their consultancy agreement with their local Nepalese partner, Rajendra Bajgain, after the later publicly accused the company of not obtaining necessary work permit for senior foreign staff members working at the Tiger Palace resort.


Silver Heritage starts casino operations in Tiger Palace resort

Hong Kong-based and Australian stock exchange listed Silver Heritage Group announced the launch of casino operations at its Tiger Palace integrated resort last week.

In  a regulatory filing to the stock exchange, Silver Heritage Group announced on 28th December, 2017 that its subsidiary, SHL Management Services (KTM) Pvt. Ltd.  has been issued a license for casino operations at the Tiger Palace Resort by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation of Nepal.

The company added that the Tiger Palace resort and casino is now fully operational and noted that its first major event was scheduled on New Year’s eve, i.e. on 31st December, 2017.

Silver Heritage had made an announcement to the stock exchange on 21st December, 2017 that in accordance with the Nepal casino regulations, it had to pay an “initial casino licence fee of NPR20 million (approximately US$194,000), and the casino royalty fee of NPR30 million (approximately US$291,000) for the Nepal fiscal year, which runs from mid-July to mid-July the following year”, in order to receive the casino licence.

The integrated resort, touted to be one of South Asia’s largest casino resorts is strategically located in the Bhairahawa area of Nepal, near the India border. The resort aims to attract patrons from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, West Bengal, Bangladesh and China, which they believe is an ‘untapped market’ with huge potential.

A soft launch of the resort’s hotel was held on 20th September and the launch of the casino operations, which was scheduled in the last week of November, was delayed due to lack of regulatory approval from Nepalese authorities.

Speaking to GGRAsia, Mike Bolsover, managing director and chief executive of Silver Heritage, said, “The chairman and board of directors of Silver Heritage and I are extraordinarily grateful to everyone who helped bring this vision to life, including the committed and supportive shareholders in Silver Heritage, the citizens and the government of Nepal, and we are humbled by the dedication and support of all of those people involved in designing, developing, building, completing, and finally opening Tiger Palace Resort Bhairahawa.”

He further added: “The future is indeed bright for the company and for the people of Nepal and tourism in this country.”

Business Gaming

Tiger Palace Resort gets five star certification, may start casino operations soon

The Tiger Palace Resort in Bhairawaha, Nepal has received five star certification from the Nepalese Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Silver Heritage Group announced in a regulatory filing to the stock exchange.

As per the announcement, the company announced that its Nepalese subsidiary, SHL Management Services (KTM) Pvt. Ltd. can now start the procedural formalities of applying for a casino license in the Tiger Palace Resort, which is strategically located near the India-Nepal border. The casino is expected to start operations soon after receiving the license, which could take a few more months.

“We have targeted high-end Indian casino players. We will be conducting helicopter charter flights from key Indian cities to bring them to Bhairahawa,” said Rajendra Bajgain, President of Silver Heritage’s local subsidiary. The casino-cum-resort will provide 1,800 jobs, 95 percent of which will go to Nepalis, according to the hotel.

Touted as one of South Asia’s biggest luxury casino resorts, Tiger Palace Resort would be primarily targeting players from Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Bihar as per the company. It is understood that the hotel has already seen a soft launch in September and will be open for commercial operations very soon.

As part of its future expansion plans, Silver Heritage has said that it is looking to develop two more casino resorts in Nepal. The company is currently looking for land in Jhapa in the Eastern Region to develop a 500-room Tiger branded casino-cum-resort property.

Silver Heritage has also stated that it would be having a branding agreement with Grid Logic Software Private Limited for a branding agreement to operate an online rummy website in India. It is understood that the website, would be part of the ‘Taj Rummy Network’ operated by Grid Logic.

Business Gaming

Delta Corp signs MoU to operate casino in Nepal

India’s largest gaming company, Delta Corp Ltd., has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Nepalsese company, Everest Hospitality and Hotel Pvt. Ltd. to operate a casino in the upcoming Marriott Hotel in the Naxal area of Kathmandu, reported Nepalese news outlet Republica.

“Implementing the Marriott brand standards, designed by renowned architects and utilizing the best construction companies, the hotel consists of state of the art services including spa, casino, and variety of restaurants, swimming pool, gym, exclusive suites and lounges” a statement by Everest Hospitality and Hotel, which is part of the leading  Nepalese business conglomerate MS Group said.

The 235-room Marriott Hotel is still under construction and is expected to start operations from June next year. MS Group’s first hotel, Thamel-based Fairfield by Marriott, started operations in March this year.

Delta Corp in a press release issued yesterday confirmed the development and noted:

Delta Corp has entered into a MoU with Everest Hospitality and Hotel (P) Ltd for leasing space at the upcoming five star Marriott Hotel in Kathmandu, Nepal to operate a casino.

Delta will initiate steps to obtain a license from the Government of Nepal and the commencement of operations of the casino will be subject to receipt of this license.

With this proposed casino in Kathmandu, Delta aims to expand its imprint outside India, in line with its strategy of expanding in the region.

Another Indian casino operator, the Pride Group already operates a casino in the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kathmandu, Nepal since 2015. International gaming operator Silver Heritage Group has also launched a casino resort called ‘Tiger Palace Resort’ in the Bhairahawa area of Nepal. While the hotel and resort have already commenced operations, the casino is slated to open in the last week of November.


Feature: Silver Heritage CEO Mike Bolsover discusses the prospects of the upcoming Tiger Palace Resort & Casino

Exclusive Silver Heritage Group, an Australian Securities Exchange listed hospitality company, is in the process of developing one of the largest Integrated Resorts in South Asia –  Tiger Palace Resort Bhairahawa.

Located in Bhairahawa in Southern Nepal near the India border, Tiger Palace is expected to open its hotel at the end of September and to commence gaming operations in November 2017, and is touted as a game-changer which will offer a unique five-star gaming and hospitality experience. The resort is nestled between two UNESCO Word Heritage Sites on the Terai close to the foothills of the Himalayas.

In this exclusive interview, Mike Bolsover, the CEO and Managing Director of Silver Heritage Group gives details about the project, its unique location and how it will change South Asia’s hospitality and entertainment sector.

Q. Nepal as a jurisdiction went through very tough times. In 2014, all casinos were shut down for non-payment of taxes and license (royalty) fees. The country also faced a devastating earthquake in 2015 and there has been political turmoil and multiple changes in governments in the recent past. Despite all this, why did Silver Heritage choose Nepal as the location for its Tiger Palace project?

Mike Bolsover (MB): The key driver of integrated resort earnings, certainly the casino and hospitality element, is proximity.

On its southern low-lying border (average elevation approximately 100 mts above sea level) Nepal has an proximate population of over 400 million citizens – those include inhabitants of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and West Bengal. Domestic air travel within India brings the other 900 million citizens within a days’ reach too. There are no geographic barriers (such as rivers or mountains) and no travel restrictions for Indians (such as visas or travel permits).

The only place one can play casino table games in India is Goa (and to a certain extent in Sikkim). Goa is over 2,000km from Tiger Palace Resort Bhairahawa, and even more so from Kathmandu. Our resort is closer to Delhi and Kolkata too for example (than Goa) and certainly closer to Thailand and China.

Major drivers of tourism are unique propositions and access and infrastructure including airlift. We have all three in Bhairahawa with fantastic roads in India (golden quadrilateral and East-West highway), a domestic airport 15 minutes drive away which will become Nepal’s 2nd international airport in less than 12 months time, and unique propositions in Lumbini – the birthplace of lord Buddha and a UNESCO world heritage site only 30 mins drive away, and Everest of course to the North. Furthermore Chitwan with its tigers and elephant and rhino is just 140 km from the resort to the East.

So if you want a large proximate market, and a fantastic pre-existing tourism proposition, then where better in the world than Nepal?

Silver Heritage have been in Nepal since 2011, and I myself first travelled to Nepal in 2003 to go trekking, a trip when I had the misfortune of being stuck in the Upper Mustang section of the Annapurna Circuit to the North of Pokhara, in Jomsom. There was some fighting between the Maoists and the Nepal Police at the time and the roads were blocked. We were assisted by our now local partner and my good friend Rajendra Bajgain as he was able to source an army helicopter to take us from Jomsom to Pokhara, flying over the skirmishes, and off to Kathmandu. That was almost 15 years ago.

The country has moved on significantly since then, much like Sri Lanka post the Tamil Tigers conflict, and it is very much a functioning multi-party democracy in Nepal at present with Nepali Congress, UPN-UML, and the Maoists effectively sharing the leadership since the new Constitution in 2015. As was agreed at the Nepal Investment Summit in March 2017, whilst single party stability is not guaranteed, predictability of Government change is.  And so with a long history in Nepal we feel that we can navigate the nuances of the Nepali political situation. It may frustrate business from time to time but it certainly doesn’t prevent it.

At their invitation, we were able to assist the government in its desire to develop a framework to properly regulate the casino industry, an industry which has been present in Nepal for over 50 years, and to attract foreign direct investment. The new regulations, known as the Casino Rules 2070, was published in the Gazette in July 2013. Eventually (in early 2014) the government was able to close all the existing casinos and “re-set” the industry with a view to long term sustainable growth of the casino, tourism, and integrated resort industry in Nepal, and as part of that process they closed all existing casinos pending settlement of their back-taxes and royalties.

Silver Heritage was the first company to apply for and be awarded a casino licence under the new regulations. This was in February 2015, when we opened The Millionaire’s Club and Casino at the 5-star Shangri-La Hotel in Lazimpat, Kathmandu. Over the course of 2015, two other operators opened casinos at 5-star hotels in the capital.

Q. How have the Nepalese politicians, bureaucrats and people in general reacted to the Tiger Palace project? Are they excited or is there some opposition to the idea of casinos?

MB: They are very supportive because we have set a new standard and we are the first group to build an large scale hotel resort facility in which to house a casino. The US$51.8m we are spending is also the largest foreign investment in the tourism industry at present. We will soon employ well over 1,000 Nepalis which will put us in the top tier of employers in the country, and our business in the Shangri-La has to date paid almost US$2 million in taxes and fees to the Government of Nepal (casino royalties, licence fees and income tax).

Q. Can you give some more clarity on the licensing conditions for the casino – time period of validity, recurring and non-recurring fees? Also could you throw some colour on the tax rate for the casino revenues?

MB: The Casino Rules 2070 state that casino royalties (gaming taxes) of US$400,000 are payable per annum, and license fees are US$100,000 per annum (US$200,000 in year one) per property. Corporate tax is 25% but there are a series of incentives which make the effective tax rate much lower.

Q. The fact that Tiger Palace is located so close to the India border indicates that the North & East India audience will be the real market for the resort. Given this, why not start a project in Nepal instead of India? Are you looking at opportunities in India?

MB: We are in Nepal. Foreign companies are not allowed to own equity in Indian casino ventures. We also expect international visitors from China, Korea, and the rest of Asia as we are situated in such a fantastic location with unique tourist experiences.

The opening of the International facilities including customs and immigration at Gautam Buddha airport in Bhairahawa, just 15 minutes from the resort by 2018 would mean that we can soon draw customers from further afield who could access our property and the rest of Nepal from the country’s second international airport at Bhairahawa. This is a long-term play and is an internationally accessible destination resort.

Q. About the project, could you give a few more details about Tiger Palace Resort for our readers. Also please give some insights on the casino and the games and facilities that it will have.

MB: We have a vision to transform South Asia’s entertainment landscape. Tiger Palace Resort will be an exhilarating, heart-stopping wholesome entertainment destination unlike anything the Indian consumer has seen before. A place to let loose, escape the everyday and live for the moment, it perfectly combines international flair with local sensibility to create a truly dynamic, engaging experience.

Our target audience is businessmen, bachelors, group of friends, families and young corporates who enjoy the good things in life and like to have fun. They seek a more exciting and higher quality entertainment options. One that is accessible yet aspirational; that speaks to their desire for a better lifestyle and international experiences.  Value driven, they look for quality, reliability and unique offerings. They like to express themselves and want to be entertained at all times. Our tagline? “Dare To Go Wild”.

The hotel and hospitality area opens first and includes 100 rooms and suites and 2 villas in phase 1, in addition to 6 separate food and beverage options, a large swimming pool, children’s arcade, gym, spa, sports facilities, wedding & banqueting facilities, and first class MICE (meetings incentives conventions exhibitions) facilities.

The casino will open with 52 tables, featuring a mix of roulette, baccarat, poker and other South Asian games, and 200 slot machines in phase one. These will be offered in separate mass, premium mass, and VIP areas.

Additional rooms are planned for phase 2, together with new casino floor space depending on demand.

We already own the areas within the property which would be able to accommodate additional phases.

Q. Recent updates suggest that the hotel rooms and other facilities will open by September-end and the casino by November. Are you still on-course for the target or has there been any revision?

MB: Yes we remain on course, in fact some of the hotel rooms have already been turned over to the operations team by the development team for final preparations.

Q. What are the revenue and growth projections for Silver Heritage from Tiger Palace Resort?

MB: We expect to generate very competitive returns relative to our peers.

Q.Finally, can you throw some light on Silver Heritage’s future expansion plans and strategy? Are you looking to expand into newer geographies?

MB: For now we have presence and focus only in Nepal and Vietnam.


Silver Heritage announces launch of Tiger Palace resort cum casino on Indo-Nepal border by November 2017

Hong Kong-based Silver Heritage Group has announced that its Tiger Palace Resort in Bhairahawa in Nepal is nearing completion and operations will commence by the end of this year in two phases.

According to Silver Heritage Group, the hotel, villa and hospitality areas of the resort will commence operations in in the first phase- by the end of September, 2017. This will be followed by the launch of the casino, the main gaming and VIP floors and the remaining parts of the resort in phase two- by November, 2017.

While Australia-listed Silver Heritage Group faced delays and fund crunch, the company seems to have overcome its financial difficulties by raising Australian $19 million in an entitlement offer in June 2017.

The Tiger Palace resort is touted as the first luxury casino resort of South Asia with over 100 5-star rooms, 2 VIP villas and over 20,000 square feet of casino space. The resort is located in the Bhairahawa area of Nepal, which is just 12 kilometres from the India-Nepal border and easily accessible from various cities in Uttar Pradesh like Gorakhpur, Lucknow, Kanpur and Allahabad.

The company aims to target visitors from North and East India by providing them with a unique gaming and hospitality experience, which is unlike what is currently offered in the region.

The final budgeted project cost for Tiger Palace is US $51.8 million (around Rs. 341 crores), which is a US$ 11.8 million escalation from the initially earmarked US$40 million.

Business Gaming

Silver Heritage Group set to launch new casino resort on Indo-Nepal border, files for IPO in Australia

Hong Kong based casino operator Silver Heritage Group is set to offer its shares to the public through the Australian bourses, as per the company press release and news reports.The company plans to raise Australian Australian $25 million through the listing on the Australian market and hopes to complete the process by next month, primarily to fund the Tiger Palace Resort on the India-Nepal Border.

The Group hopes to offer 62.5 million ordinary shares at 40 cents per-share and the indicative market capitalisation of the company post-listing is expected to be around Australian $80m.

The company noted,  “Funds will primarily be used for development of Tiger Palace Resort, the first integrated resort built for Indian casino players located in Nepal close to the Indian border,” said a press release issued on Wednesday on behalf of the company. It added Tiger Palace (pictured in an artist’s rendering) would be launched in ‘early 2017’.”

Since entry of foreign players in the Indian casino sector is not permitted, the Silver Heritage Group is planning a casino on the Nepalese side of the border, close to the India and is primarily intended to cater to Indians.

Silver Heritage Group also has presence in other Asian countries like Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. In the company press release, Mike Bosver, the CEO of the Group said, “We focus on mid-size opportunities and improving operating performance to best practice standards. This strategy has allowed us to build significant expertise and local knowledge while growing profitability and generating attractive returns on capital.”

Tiger Palace resort is slated to be operational from early 2017 as per the Silver Heritage website. The funding for the project is likely to ensure that Tiger Palace resort competes with casinos in Goa, Sikkim and Sri Lanka to attract Indian gamers.