Razon eyes more casino projects in Philippines, overseasBy Doris C. Dumlao
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—After bringing his port terminal operations to other parts of the globe, business magnate Enrique Razon Jr. is scouting for local and overseas expansion opportunities for his gaming-hotel business under Bloomberry Resorts Corp. (Pagcor).
During the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting on Monday, Razon said Bloomberry would be focused not only on the Philippine Amusement Gaming Corp’s Entertainment City, where Bloomberry’s $1-billion “Solaire” gaming and hotel complex would be the first to open in the first quarter of 2013.
Razon said his group would look at other “promising” locations and develop the brand Solaire as a “class of its own.”
After the stockholders’ meeting, he told reporters that like International Container Terminal Services Inc., this could be a “homegrown” Filipino brand that could be brought to other locations.
“It depends on what markets open up. I’m talking more about some possibilities in the Philippines but likewise outside the Philippines,” Razon said.
For instance, he said his group would look at the casinos that may be privatized by Pagcor. If and when new territories open up to new casino licensing, like Macau, for instance, he said Solaire would look at such an opportunity. But he said Solaire must be up and running first before looking at expansion to new locations.
Even for the hotel operations, while it’s easier to sell rooms with an international brand on board, Razon said that would be less profitable because the developer would have to pay these hotel operators.
“If you want to move to other areas, you need to have one brand, a homegrown Filipino brand like ICTSI,” he said.
The first phase of the 8.3-hectare Solaire Manila complex will have a gaming floor area of 18,500 square meters, including 6,000 sqm of exclusive VIP gaming areas, 1,200 slot machines and 300 gaming tables. It will also have 500 hotel rooms, suites and bayside villas, as well as specialty restaurants and food-and-beverage outlets. It will have a 1,000-seat grand ballroom, spa and fitness center, and a bay-view promenade. It will also have a multi-level parking building with 3,000 parking slots.
After this initial phase, Razon said Solaire would add 300 luxury suites in its hotel portfolio. Phase 2 of development involves a 1,000-room tower club, Razon said.
Based on Forbes magazine’s listing of richest people in the Philippines, the 52-year-old Razon was this year’s biggest gainer as his wealth surged by $2 billion to $3.6 billion, catapulting him four ranks higher to become the country’s third-wealthiest person.
Razon, who took over ICTSI at age 27, has built significant port terminal operations in Asia before expanding into Europe, North America and the Middle East. But much of the big jump in Razon’s wealth was attributed by Forbes to his investment in Bloomberry, which recently raised P8.55 billion from a follow-on public offering.
Originally posted at 04:42 pm | Monday, June 25, 2012
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