Casino Austria AG – Czech majority available
As already announced, Novomatic is giving its shares in Casino Austria AG. It was already discussed that talks were taking place with the Czech shareholder Sazka Group. Now it's fixed. The Czech shareholder will hold themajority of shares in Casino Austria AG. ÖBAG has waived the right of first refusal of the Novomatic shares. By taking over the shares, the Czech group now has a stake of over 53 percent. The Sazka group from the Czech Republic concluded a syndicate agreement with the state holding from Austria.
Agreement between the two main shareholders briefly explained
By theSyndicate agreement that ÖBAG concluded with the Sazka Group Austria has secured a say in important decisions. Thisright to have a say ensures that there are no disputes between the owners. The well-being of the company has top priority. With the agreement, ÖBAG received rights that are otherwise due to a 50 percent owner. There were no dissenting voices, so that the syndicate agreement can be concluded without hesitation.
ÖBAG actually benefits from the fact that it has been granted a right of veto in various matters. The agreed package is intended to secure theCasino Austria AG headquarters with the tax domicile, the jobs and the twelve casino locations in Austria. In addition, the main shareholders agreed that the “Österreichische Lotterien” and “Casinos Austria” brands should be retained.
Further important points in the contract
In addition to the points already mentioned, there are other factors such as the right to nominate the supervisory board and CEO, which are very important for Austria. In addition, the promotion of sports and culture should be maintained. In addition, it was agreed thatSazka may not have any business activities in Austria that would constitute competition. The contract, which has been negotiated for months, runs for a period of 15 years.
The agreement is very important for Austria. The contract was certainly also a reason why ÖBAG waived its right of first refusal. Strictly speaking, the Alpine region is in a good position with the syndicate agreement. After all, despite having fewer shares, it gets many rights in different areas.
SPÖ criticizes the waiver of the right of first refusal
Of course there are also critical voices from Austria. The SPÖ criticizes the procedure thatthe pre-emption right for the shares was waived. The finance spokesman assumes that sooner or later it will lead to the privatization of state property. He also believes that, over the long term, an increase pays off in higher dividends. It has also already been announced that the employee representatives at ÖBAG would not have a negative view of an increase.
But it is also pointed out that the pact between the Czech Republic and Austria is much more extensive and stronger than is the case with other syndicate contracts. ÖBAG has already concluded two other syndicate agreements in the past. There is a contract with co-shareholder Mubadala from Abu Dhabi, which deals with the shares in OMV. There is also a cooperation regarding Telekom Austria AG with the Mexican owner America Móvil, who is the majority owner.
After months, calm is set in
The last few months have been very turbulent for Casinos Austria. Five years ago, both Sazka and Novomatic were very interested in the shares in Casinos Austria. So they started buying shares and getting the majority. Ultimately, there was a trio (Staat, Novomatic, Sazka) whichdifferences kept coming up. There was even supposed to be a voting agreement, which eventually caused a dispute between Novomatic and Sazka. Due to the problems and the emergence of the cause, Novomatic decided to sell its shares. Of course, the Czech group immediately recognized the opportunity and expressed an interest in the shares.
Slowly peace is returning to Austria. The two main parties ÖPAG and Sazka are currently in agreement with the sale of the Novomatic shares. They now want to move Casinos Austria forward again and make decisions for the benefit of the company.
Casino affair whirled everything up
Last year there was aCasino affair. The owner of Novmatic and the ex-boss were accused of working together with the FPÖ. Strictly speaking, it was about the fact that the Novomatic team allegedly wanted to make FPÖ politician Sidlo CFO in exchange for gambling licenses. But there are other people like ÖBAG boss Schmid and ex-FPÖ boss Strache, who are also said to be involved.
All parties involved deny the allegations and are confident that the allegations will be resolved during theCasino Affair proceedings. Schmid repeatedly reiterated that he always tried to act professionally and correctly. The presumption of innocence applies to everyone involved. We'll have to wait and see what comes out of the process.
Novomatic withdraws from Austria
Novomatic has already announced that they want to turn their backs on Austria and that they don't want to bother about any further licenses. Instead, the company plans togo global. They want to conquer the big market and become more successful in other countries. According to Novomatic, Austria is only a small market with regulatory difficulties. In other countries, the Group sees better and greater opportunities to advance and become more successful.
Among other things, the company wants to be more present in the USA. A higher presence is also planned in Kenya. Of course, the online market is also of great importance for gambling specialists. In this area, however, Novomatic would like to wait a little longer and see what is happening in Kenya, for example. Kenya will certainly become an interesting contact point for gambling providers in the online gaming sector when a new state gambling treaty is passed nationwide.