Rumors in Italy that gaming company is for sale: Corallo’s B Plus urged bank to drop lawsuit

POSTED: 02/15/13 1:52 PM

St. Maarten / By Hilbert Haar – Francesco Corallo’s company B Plus urged the Banca Popolare di Milano (BPM) in a letter dated November 16, 2012 to withdraw a lawsuit it filed under an article in the Italian civil code. The Italian edition of the Huffington Post published the letter earlier this month.

In January, the Huffington Post published a brief article about Corallo’s legal troubles in Italy. The Post reported rumors that Corallo has been pushed so far in a corner that he considers selling his gaming companies.

On February 7, the web site reported that Corallo had been cleared by the Supreme Court of being a member of a criminal organization. The remaining complaint was about what is called private corruption. This is however a complaint-offense: without a complaint a prosecutor is not able to proceed.

The Huffington Post reported that BPM has withdrawn its lawsuit against Corallo and that B Plus paid the outstanding balance of a loan. The prosecutor in Milan is now investigating whether parties conspired to drop the lawsuit.

The basis for this new twist in the case is a letter B Plus attorney Allessandro la Monica wrote to the bank on November 26 of last year.

In this letter, B Plus points out that it has had a relationship with the bank that spans more than eight years and that during that time €2.5 billion (almost $3.4 billion) flowed through the accounts. The attorney also points out that all loans are in good standing and that there is a balance of just €26.9 million ($36.3 million) on a €105 million (almost $142 million) loan the company took to finance 12,000 licenses for video lottery terminals.

Allessandro write in the letter that B Plus is “embarrassed” because BPM’s president dr. Andrea Bonomi has a controlling interest in the main competitors of B Plus in the gaming market – SNAI and Cogetech – via an investment company called Investindustrial. B Plus considers this conflict of interest hampers its development in the gaming market.

“We hope that future evaluations we ask you to make will disregard the possible influence that such a conflict of interest could generate and that President Bonomi will refrain from participating in decisions that affect us,” the letter states.

La Monica extensively described the collateral B Plus had up against the loan. Among it are €15 million in cash and 60 percent of the market value of the video lottery terminal-licenses.

The attorney also mentions the absurd and erroneous assessment the company received in 2011 and the so-called law of stability. This legislation introduced in 2010, prohibits concessionaires in the gaming industry to be established “in countries with privileged taxation.”

That law would only have been applicable to B Plus, La Monica wrote in the letter. “But B Plus has consistently complied with this requirement by 1.6.2011, well before the deadline.”

Corallo said in a rare interview with a British gaming magazine last year that the law of stability was designed to put him out of business.

B Plus furthermore stressed in the letter that it cannot begin to imagine that the bank has suffered any damages from loans it granted to B Plus. “It is only possible to make an abstract connection via the overexposure in the media B Plus has been subjected to.”

–          Towards the end of the letter La Monica charges that BPM “made a mistake by filing a lawsuit against B Plus. “The proposed lawsuit against Corallo would have to be reconsidered in the light of the appraisal report of Price that you received in April 2012 and that excludes that irregularities were committed in the granting of the loans to B Plus.”

–          La Monica states in the letter that B Plus is possible “the bank’s “best client ever.” At the same time, he claims that the lawsuit the bank files has caused B Plus serious damages in terms of loss of clients. The letter furthermore states that B Plus considers it the bank’s duty to “reconsider” the decision to file the lawsuit.

–          If that happens, La Monica concluded the letter, “It will allow for a fair and straightforward continuation of the banking relationship with mutual satisfaction that allows us to focus only on the businesses development in the gaming industry with benefits for all.”

 

 

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  1. Paul Ross says:

    Gaming, British fund Eaton Gate offers €500 million for 100% acquisition of Bplus

    Agipro – 16/07/2013

    Eaton Gate, an international investment fund based in London, has submitted an offer of around 500 million euros for the acquisition of 100% of Bplus. Agipronews learns from financial sources. Eaton Gate, which has directly invested over €2,1 billion and advised over €10 billion in M&A, is the ringleader of a group that includes two other large private equity funds, one American and one Australian.
    One of the pretenders then comes out to acquire Bplus Italian market-leading company of slot machines that AAMS has ruled out a few months ago from the tender for the granting of concessions – after receiving a preliminary statement of the Prefecture of Rome because of the involvement of the major shareholder, Francesco Corallo, in the investigation of Milan prosecutors on funding granted to some entrepreneurs by Banca Popolare di Milano at the time of Massimo Ponzellini.
    The company – which is operating now on a six months extension through September 20 – currently guarantees 300 jobs, which would be safeguarded in the advent of the success of the foreign investors led by Eaton Gate. “The preliminary offer presented to Bplus is about five times the company’s Ebitda in 2012” explains Christian Tirabassi of Ficom Leisure, industrial advisor of the funds.
    In the acquisition plan now in the hands of of the current owners of the Concessionaire, is guaranteed the continuity of the current level of business, tax revenue, and the confirmation of ongoing business relationships with operational partners.