By Yoruk Bahceli
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – A sleight of hand by the owner of an Estonian gaming company is alarming investors worried that tactics used by private equity firms in the United States to shift assets away from creditors are coming to Europe.
Olympic Entertainment, owned by private equity firm Novalpina Capital, told bondholders on June 18 it had moved some assets – all its online operations and a Lithuanian business – into an entity not bound by its credit agreements, according to an email seen by Reuters.
The company, which operates the Olympic Casino brand, distributed shares in the separate entity to a parent company controlled by Novalpina, the email said, effectively paying the London-based firm a dividend.
Olympic Entertainment, which had 114 casinos at the end of 2018 in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Italy and Malta, did not respond to requests for comment.
Olympic’s asset shift means holders