Société des bains de mer de Monaco
|Société Anonyme de Droit Monégasque|
|Traded as||Euronext: BAIN|
|Headquarters||Monte Carlo, Monaco|
|France, Monaco, and
United Arab Emirates
|Jean-Luc Biamonti (Chairmen) and (CEO)
Yves Toytot (CFO)
|Owners||Government of Monaco (69.1%)
Qatari Diar (6.39%)
Number of employees
The Société des Bains de Mer (pronounced: [sɔsjete də bɛ̃ də mɛːʁ]), officially the Société des Bains de Mer et du Cercle des Étrangers à Monaco (pronounced: [sɔsjete də bɛ̃ də mɛːʁ du seʁle de etʁɑ̃geʁ ɑ mɔnako]), abbreviated SBM; Euronext: BAIN is a publicly traded company registered in the Principality of Monaco. SBM manages and owns the Monte Carlo Casino, the Opéra de Monte-Carlo, and the Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo.
After the First World War Sir Basil Zaharoff had been an old patron of the Côte d'Azur. The Casino in Monte Carlo was in trouble, its old owner, Camille Blanc, had lost touch with the changed world, particularly the changed world of money. The Prince of Monaco, Louis II, in whose domain the great Casino nestled, wanted to get rid of Blanc, to bring in a ″business management″ of the institution that supplied him with his revenue and his small principality with its support. He approached Zaharoff, the aging international financier and arms dealer magnate was interested. It was not altogether an unbecoming spot to end his career — this singular little nation of twenty thousand souls, living on a rock in the Mediterranean, a Prince ruling the tiny entity with his little army of a hundred and twenty men, a single business enterprise, the Casino, paying all the bills, supporting most of the population. There they ruled, two old nabobs — one the civil despot, the other the economic despot, owning the economic fountain out of which all the taxes and wages of the place came; the Prince of Monaco and Zaharoff, twin rulers in a state that lived by gambling. Zaharoff got hold of the shares and, with the aid of the Prince, shouldered Blanc out of the place and became its master. The Casino was a natural moneymaker. It called not for any special magic but merely for money and a thorough business administration. This Zaharoff supplied. He did not manage it himself. He put in his own men. Zaharoff's administration brought huge dividends.
In 1953 the Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis bought up the shares of SBM via the use of front companies in the tax haven of Panama and took control of the organisation, moving his headquarters into the Old Sporting Club on Monaco's Avenue d'Ostende shortly after. Onassis's takeover of the SBM was initially welcomed by Monaco's ruler, Prince Rainier III as the country required investment, but Onassis and Rainier's relationship had deteriorated by 1962 in the wake of the boycott of Monaco by the French President, Charles de Gaulle.
Onassis and Rainier had differing visions for Monaco. Onassis wished the country to remain a resort for an exclusive clientele, but Rainier wished to build hotels and attract greater number of tourists. Monaco had become less attractive as a tax haven in the wake of France's actions, and Rainier urged Onassis to invest in the construction of hotels. Onassis was reluctant to invest in hotels without a guarantee from Rainier that no other competing hotel development would be permitted, but promised to build two hotels and an apartment block. Unwilling to give Onassis his guarantee, Rainier used his veto to cancel the entire hotel project, and publicly attacked SBM for their 'bad faith' on television, implicitly criticising Onassis. Rainier and Onassis remained at odds over the direction of the company for several years and in June 1966 Rainier approved a plan to create 600,000 new shares in SBM to be permanently held by the state, which reducing Onassis's stake from 52% to under a third. In the Supreme Court of Monaco the share creation was challenged by Onassis who claimed that it was unconstitutional, but the court found against him in March 1967. Following the ruling Onassis sold his holdings in SBM to the state of Monaco for $9.5 million ($270 million as of 2015), and left the country.
The Société des Bains de Mer operates in the accommodation, dining, entertainment, and gambling industries. SBM manages and owns casinos, hotels, restaurants, bars, night clubs, spas, beach clubs, and golf clubs. Fifty-two of their fifty-eight properties are located in Monaco. SBM opened its first non-European establishment on Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, in September 2011.
SBM is Monaco's largest employer.
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