Asia’s Guoco Group Limited has again increased its stake in Great Britain’s second largest bingo club and casino owner, Rank Group, from 18.08 percent to 23.19 percent.
Rank is the firm behind MeccaBingo.com, GrosvenorCasinos.com and GrosvenorPoker.com while Guoco is a subsidiary of investment group Hong Leong (Malaysia) Berhad run by Malaysian billionaire Quek Leng Chan. Guoco has been looking to build a base in the UK casino market and has been gradually raising its stake in Rank since January, when it held around four percent.
Its purchases of Rank stock have been in direct competition with Malaysia’s Genting Group, who increased its share in the summer to 12.67 percent. There is also investment bank Goldman Sachs, who recently raised its stake by eleven percent to 16.1 percent, making it the second largest shareholder after Guoco. Another serious player is the UK’s Richardson family, whose interests include property and haulage, with a stake thought to be around eleven percent.
In May, Rank revealed that its sales had declined by eight percent following the introduction of the UK’s indoor smoking ban. It countered by opening sheltered outdoor gaming areas and installing remote play equipment at its bingo halls.