Vienna/Prague, March 6, 2020: The two largest shareholders of Casinos Austria AG (CASAG) will cooperate closely in the future to ensure a positive development of their participation in Casinos Austria AG. This was announced by Österreichische Beteiligungs AG (ÖBAG) and the SAZKA Group on Friday, March 6th, 2020.
By concluding a syndicate agreement, both partners agreed on a future joint control of the CASAG investment. ÖBAG CEO Thomas Schmid: "With this agreement, ÖBAG and SAZKA were able to agree on a far-reaching cooperation at Casinos Austria AG. ÖBAG ensures to carry out the location interests at the casinos and remains a strong core shareholder. With this shareholder agreement, we ensure that, in future, the focus will no longer be on the dispute between owners, but exclusively on the well-being and further growth of the company."
SAZKA Group CEO Robert Chvátal: "The conclusion of this shareholder agreement ensures that both SAZKA Group and ÖBAG cooperate in a spirit of partnership with the aim to increase value of Casinos Austria AG and Austrian Lotteries. We see this cooperation as a long-term partnership and want to use our expertise in the lottery & gaming sector to help further strengthen Casinos Austria AG and Austrian Lotteries. SAZKA Group is, as one of the largest lottery groups in Europe, strategic shareholder prepared to share best business practices and experience from various European markets for the good of CASAG.
With this step, ÖBAG is paving the way for the takeover of the Novomatic shares by the SAZKA Group and waiving its pro-rata rights of seizure of over 7 %. ÖBAG thus continues to hold 33.2 % of Casinos Austria AG. The SAZKA Group currently holds 38.3 % and has the option to increase its shareholding.
The Shareholders Agreement ensures a close cooperation between the two main shareholders of Casinos Austria AG in the future. Far-reaching cooperation modalities have been agreed including strengthening of minority shareholding rights of ÖBAG.
Location issues secured
Central issues for the business location were defined in the syndicate agreement. In the spirit of the domestic business location, both the headquarters of Casinos Austria in Austria and the brand Casinos Austria AG were secured for the future. The tax revenue of CASAG in Austria and the responsible role in the sports and cultural sector were also agreed. SAZKA and ÖBAG also agreed on their representation in the Management and Supervisory Boards. Both parties will jointly assess future options for opening or abandonment of potential new casino locations in Austria taking into consideration the responsible gambling regulations that will be vigorously promoted.
Both core shareholders are committed to working together to further increase the value of the company. Thomas Schmid: "There is a clear desire on the part of the main shareholders for the management to continue to drive forward the performance of CASAG. In the Austria package we have agreed on a number of points that are particularly important for Austria as a business location and for the employees of CASAG".
Robert Chvátal: “We are looking forward to working together with the Austrian team to bring across the gambling verticals of Casinos Austria AG and Austrian Lotteries with innovative solutions based on international best practices.”