Belle eyes 2nd site for bigger City of Dreams
Upbeat on the performance of City of Dreams (CoD) Manila, leisure estate and gaming firm Belle Corp. is looking to expand the existing integrated resort while actively scouting for a second site for a new estate outside Pagcor Entertainment City.
Belle also sees CoD Manila, a partnership with the Melco Crown group of Macau, posting the largest gross gaming revenues (GGR) in the Philippine gaming industry this year.
“Moving forward, we expect the gaming share from City of Dreams to increase and it will dilute the other [businesses] … There’s a good chance that sometime this year, we’ll be number one in total GGR,” said Belle president and CEO Manuel Gana.
Belle chair Willy Ocier said an expansion was inevitable since “CoD complex is operating at full capacity. As of now we have only 6.2 hectares.”
Ocier said Belle had already informed the Philippine Amusement & Gaming Corp. its plans of a second site, which would likewise be in partnership with Melco Crown, based on the “policy of level playing field.” Bloomberry Resorts Corp., led by tycoon Enrique Razon Jr., had been allowed to put up a second site in Quezon City using its existing license.
“Pagcor is open to other areas outside of Metro Manila especially when it’s tourism-related,” Ocier said.
Now on its second full year of operation, CoD Manila has increased its GGR to more than P25 billion in 2016 or about 80 percent higher than the previous year’s level. The entire industry posted a GGR of about $3 billion (P149.52 billion) last year.
CoD Manila derives 30 percent of its earnings from rental income paid by Melco in CoD Manila, another 30 percent from its share of CoD Manila’s gaming operations, about 7 to 8 percent from the sale of real estate and club shares, 1 to 2 percent from property management and 30 percent from its lottery equipment supplier Pacific Online Systems Corp.
Gana believes the industry enjoyed higher GGR in the first quarter amid the entry of an aggressive Okada Manila. “Everybody is growing,” he said.
In the first three months of 2017, Belle’s net profit attributable to equity holders of parent firm grew by 79.2 percent to P621.68 million, driven mostly by revenues from CoD Manila.
There was an extraordinary capital gain of P23 million on the sale of shares of SM Prime in the first quarter. —DORIS DUMLAO-ABADILLA
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