Razon eyes investment in international airport
Businessman Enrique Razon Jr. said he might invest in a new international airport or existing air terminal operations in Manila as this would benefit Philippine tourism as well as his casino business through Solaire Resort & Casino in Entertainment City.
Razon, who has so far shied away from participating in the Aquino administration’s public private partnership program, said the government must first define plans for a new air gateway in the capital district.
“It really depends on what they are bidding out,” Razon told reporters at the sidelines of the annual meeting of Bloomberry Resorts Corp., which operates Solaire.
“We will definitely participate,” added Razon, without specifying which vehicle he would use to pursue such an investment. He said a new terminal was more attractive but an existing terminal in Manila that would be privatized was also an option.
The transportation department has identified Sangley Point, Cavite as the likely site for a new international gateway that would eventually replace the congested Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
However, Transportation secretary Joseph Abaya admitted last month that it was unlikely to auction off the airport during the term of President Aquino, leaving this task to the future administration.
The call for new and expanded transportation infrastructure was echoed in Bloomberry’s annual report statement.
Razon said better access would bolster Entertainment City, a massive reclamation project along Manila Bay that serves as ground zero for the country’s effort to compete with regional gaming giants like Macau and Singapore.
Solaire opened in 2013 making it the first of four casino projects in Entertainment City to open its doors. A second property, City of Dreams Manila, a venture between the Sy family and Macau’s Melco Crown Entertainment, had its grand opening earlier this year.
Two other properties backed by the tandem of tycoon Andrew Tan and Malaysia’s Genting Group as well as Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada are set to open through 2018.
“At this pace, the country is well on its way to become a major global player in the gaming industry,” Razon said in his message to shareholders, adding that the Philippines could “enter the top four gaming destinations in the world in the not too distant future.”
Bloomberry has also been making investments abroad, mainly in South Korea where it acquired a casino in Jeju island and is seeking the government’s approval to operate a gaming project in the Incheon Free Economic Zone. Razon said it might also invest in Taiwan and Japan should gambling be legalized in these jurisdictions.
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