Gaming firm MCP raises $377M from equity placement deal

P14/share offer price at top end of range

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Gaming firm Melco Crown Philippines (MCP) has raised $377 million from an equity placement deal priced at the top end of the target range.

Melco’s follow-on offering or re-initial public offering (IPO) was priced at P14 a share—the high end of the P11-P14 indicative price range—in another warmly received equity deal out of the Philippines.

“The successful deal exemplifies the strong prospects of the Philippine gaming industry and MCP’s experience to deliver as an operator,” said Lauro Baja, managing director at UBS Philippines, which arranged the equity deal together with Citigroup.

The order book was more than six times oversubscribed with 140 investors participating in the transaction. By geographical distribution, Asia accounted for 48 percent of the deal while the United States took up 37 percent and Europe, 15 percent.

A lion’s share of the subscriber base, about 72 percent, consisted of anchor and long-term investors, UBS reported.

The $377-million deal included the over-allotment in case of strong demand. Melco sold a total of 1.1 billion shares, of which the over-allotment portion was 117 million shares, Baja said.

MCP is the local unit of Macau’s casino giant Melco group, which recently entered into a partnership with the SM group to operate the $1.1-billion Belle Grande integrated resort complex in the Entertainment City that will open its doors by the third quarter of next year.

Melco’s key investors—Lawrence Ho, the son of casino tycoon Stanley Ho, and his business partner, Australian billionaire James Packer—were recently in town to formalize the gaming cooperation deal with the SM group and leisure estate unit Belle Corp. During his visit, Ho said he had no doubt that the Philippine gaming industry could be as big as Las Vegas or Singapore over the next five to six years.

Citing the “clustering” effect of gaming hubs being developed at Entertainment City, the co-chair and chief executive officer of Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. said the Philippine gaming market had the potential to grow quite significantly, citing analysts’ consensus that gaming revenues in the Philippines could hit $3 billion by 2015 with the opening of its hub alongside those of Solaire, Resorts World and the existing operations of state-controlled Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.

Melco is investing at least $600 million in the entertainment complex. This does not include the investment to be made by the SM group.

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