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FB Roundup: Henry Cheng, Hugo Eurnekian, Shiv Nadar

FB Roundup: Henry Cheng, Hugo Eurnekian, Shiv Nadar
In this week’s FB Roundup, the Cheng family takes control of a Vietnamese casino resort; the Eurnekian family invests in a clean energy-powered plant; and Shiv Nadar’s HCL Technologies makes a move into self-driving vehicles.
By Glen Ferris
Henry Cheng

The Cheng family take control of Vietnamese casino resort
In the wake of Macau gambling kingpin Alvin Chau’s sentencing to 18 years in jail for charges of organised crime and illegal gaming, Hong Kong’s billionaire Cheng family have taken over the management of the Hoiana casino resort in Vietnam.

Earlier this year, Chau’s investment firm – now rebranded as LET Group Holdings Ltd after his imprisonment – disassociated itself from the resort, which allowed the Cheng family’s investment arm, Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Ltd., to undertake control of the sprawling operation situated near the port city of Da Nang.

Hoiana, which hosts 140 gaming tables, more than 350 gambling machines, a golf course and hotels, along with additional facilities under construction, is believed to be worth $4 billion.

Alvin Chau was a key player in the Macau gaming industry and was at one point the largest junket operator in the city until his arrest in November, 2021, for conducting illegal gaming activities. 

The Cheng family is headed up by the 76-year-old Henry Cheng, a Hong Kong billionaire property developer and elder son of Cheng Yu-tung who founded the Hong Kong-listed New World Development, of which Henry succeeded his father as chairman.

The Hoiana takeover coincides with a rise in Vietnam’s tourism industry, “which is experiencing a post-pandemic boom, with visitor arrivals bouncing back to 66% of pre-pandemic levels in the first six months of the year,” according to Gambling News. “The country’s resilience in attracting tourists is particularly impressive, given that Chinese tourists, who previously comprised nearly one-third of Vietnam’s visitors, are yet to return en masse due to a shortage of international flights.”

The Cheng family have also recently extended their reach into the international gaming scene by investing in Australia’s Star Entertainment Group’s new $3.6 billion gambling resort in Brisbane.

Hugo Eurnekian

Eurnekian family invests in clean energy-powered plant
Corporacion America International, a conglomerate owned by one of Argentina’s richest families, is making its first major investment into clean energy.

The Eurnekian family made their fortune in oil but are now looking to alternative power sources by building a €100 million wind-and-solar-fuelled ammonia plant in Burgos, Spain.

Hugo Eurnekian, nephew of the billionaire head of Corporacion America, Eduardo Eurnekian, and chief executive officer of the holding company’s oil and gas producer Compania General de Combustibles, said in a statement that the “green” ammonia, produced with hydrogen extracted from water in a process powered by renewable energy, would be sold from 2027 to a livestock feed maker. 

“Humanity is still searching for the best solution, or combination of solutions, to the problem of decarbonising the economy,” said Eurnekian, “We want to play a key role in the process.” 

Corporacion America, which was founded by the now-90-year-old Eduardo Eurnekian with interests in textiles, telecoms, airports and, latterly, energy, is preparing to transfer to the next generation, with his 40-year-old nephew Hugo expected to take over the reins. 

While, the Eurnekians have their eyes on alternative energy, they will continue to have interests in fossil fuels for the foreseeable future, after acquiring new oil fields in 2021.

“The strategy is to have a first pilot experience in Europe that allows us to understand the transition process,” said Eurnekian. “If the time comes when big-scale projects are viable, we could take advantage of the resources in Argentina.”

Shiv Nadar

Shiv Nadar makes a move into self-driving vehicles
Indian billionaire business magnate and philanthropist, Shiv Nadar, is lining up the purchase of a German automotive engineering services company through HCL Technologies, the multinational IT firm of which he is founder and chairman emeritus.

India’s third-largest IT services company has agreed to buy all shares of ASAP Group, which specialises in autonomous driving and e-mobility, and provides software, consulting and testing services to car makers and their suppliers around Europe.

According to The National, HCL’s move into self-driving vehicles “follows a push by India’s more than $245 billion software services sector into higher-margin operations requiring more technical know-how.”

“This investment also reinforces our commitment to Germany, which is a focus market for us,” said Hari Sadarahalli, corporate vice president of engineering and R&D services at HCL Tech, of the $280 million deal.

In July 2020, Nadar, who began his career as an engineer, handed over the running of HCL Technologies to his daughter Roshni Nadar, who became the first woman chair of a listed Indian IT company.

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