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Regal Hotels Holdings Limited
For the year ended 30 September 1983, REGAL HOTELS HOLDINGS LIMITED (REGAL), which was quoted on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, announced a net attributable loss amounting to HK$1.184 billion. A record at that time for any surviving public company in Hong Kong.
Early in 1984, Mr Y.S. Lo, who was then the Managing Director of REGAL, approached Mr Wyllie and suggested that although the company was in a very weak and financially crippled position, it was in his opinion, and with Mr Wyllie's help, capable of being saved. In the following weeks Mr Wyllie and his team from ASIA SECURITIES LIMITED spent long hours with the company's auditors, ERNST & WHINNEY, as well as ASL's legal advisers and senior executives of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation in order to develop a comprehensive rescue plan.
In March 1984, this culminated in Mr Wyllie being appointed as a director of REGAL and Executive Chairman, and ASIA SECURITIES LIMITED acquiring 33.4% of REGAL's share capital at a cost of HK$89 million. Like the other rescues referred to in this profile, there then followed an intense period of corporate restructuring and financial engineering. This finally resulted in a complex capital reconstruction, together with a rights issue aimed at restoring REGAL’s balance sheet and improving the company's debt profile to more manageable proportions.
The financial year was also changed from a September end to December, and after an extremely busy and eventful nine months Mr Wyllie was able to report that, for the 15 months to December 1984, REGAL’s net consolidated loss had been reduced to a more modest HK$50.4 million. The following year, to December 1985, saw the company solidly back in the black again with a profit of HK$68.6 million, and by December 1986 the profit had increased yet further to HK$201.3 million.
By the end of 1997 when Mr Wyllie retired from the Board of REGAL HOTELS INTERNATIONAL LIMITED as it was then known, the group was one of the largest and most successful hotel owning and management groups in Asia. REGAL then owned five first class hotels in Hong Kong totalling some 3,500 rooms, including the 1,200 room Airport Hotel at Chek Lap Kok, Hong Kong's new international airport. In addition it owned or managed, through an international subsidiary, 28 hotel properties in the United States and Canada, 12 of which carried the REGAL name.
When Mr Wyllie acquired the initial one-third shareholding for ASIA SECURITIES LIMITED in March 1984, REGAL's market capitalisation was HK$265 million. As part of the PALIBURG transaction which follows this section, Mr Wyllie sold his controlling interest in 1986 at which time REGAL was capitalised at HK$2.98 billion. He then relinquished his Chairmanship in favour of Mr Y.S. Lo but remained on the Board as a non-executive director of REGAL until the end of 1997.