Armed with cash reserves of US$3.2 billion, property and investment firm Guoco Group is planning an acquisition spree. The group was preparing a S$1.8 billion ($8.29 billion) takeover bid for a Singapore-listed investment and hotel group, BIL International, a source close to the deal said yesterday. 'We are keen on finding investment opportunities as we have US$3.2 billion cash on hand,' said an executive at Guoco, which has an indirect stake in BIL through its 58 per cent owned Camerlin Group. Camerlin owns 22 per cent of BIL. 'Our investment strategy is very flexible,' the executive said. 'We will invest in whatever we think has growth potential.' Guoco, controlled by Malaysian tycoon Quek Leng Chan, said in April it had agreed to sell its 17.32 per cent stake in Galaxy Casino to K Wah Construction, which would yield profit of $403 million. Shares of Guoco in Hong Kong and BIL in Singapore were both suspended from trading yesterday pending an announcement of a 'possible major transaction'. Arun Amarsi, chief executive of BIL, refused to confirm the Guoco offer but said an official statement was forthcoming. Mr Amarsi said BIL's wholly owned subsidiary Thistle Hotels had a portfolio of 50 full-service owned, leased and managed hotels comprising about 10,800 rooms in London and major US cities. Guoco was unavailable for comment yesterday. A source quoted by Reuters said the offer price for BIL could be S$1.25 to S$1.30 per share, representing a 2.4 per cent to 6.5 per cent premium over BIL's closing price of S$1.22. Guoco shares closed at $79.60 before it was suspended from trading yesterday. The Reuters source also said Mr Quek bought a block of 138.5 million BIL shares at S$1.24 each just minutes before trading of the stock was suspended yesterday. Mr Quek, who also bought S$171.7 million worth of BIL shares from private equity firm Longleaf, was negotiating to buy another block from Singapore businessman Oei Hong Leong, who holds about 10 per cent of BIL, the Reuters source said. Mr Quek sold Hong Kong's Dao Heng Bank to Singapore's DBS Group for S$10 billion in 2001.