Razon Jr’s Bloomberry proceeds with Solaire expansion in QC
MANILA, Philippine — Billionaire Enrique Razon Jr.’s Bloomberry Resorts Corp. is proceeding with its casino expansion in Quezon City, banking on a recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic in a few years.
The health crisis has already caused the operator of the Solaire Resort & Casino along Manila Bay to report billions of pesos in losses with the closure of regular gaming operations since March.
Even then, Razon said in stock exchange filing on Thursday the company will push forward with the Solaire North, which is rising on a 1.5 hectare property in the Vertis North complex.
“We believe that its opening will coincide with a meaningful upcycle that is typical after a period of economic weakness,” Razon said.
“We look to emerge from this crisis as a much stronger company,” he added.
The company had previously indicated Solaire North will be finished by early 2023.
Bloomberry has posted losses so far this year with its main business shuttered amid government efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.
In the first six months of 2020, it posted a net loss of P3.3 billion, reversing a profit of P4.7 billion during the same period last year. For the second quarter alone, losses hit P4.7 billion versus a P2.5 billion profit in 2019.
“Bloomberry is not exempt from the seismic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global tourism and the gaming entertainment industry,” Razon said.
He said the company has since prioritized “the health and safety of our team members and guests.”
During the first half period, gross gaming revenues hit P13 billion, down 55 percent.
Solaire’s hotel operations, restaurants and retail businesses continued to cater to long-stay guests and “select invitees.” Non-gaming revenues during the six-month period hit P2.3 billion, a 41 percent decline versus the same period in 2019.
While Solaire’s casino has been closed to the public when strict lockdown measures were implemented last March 16, the company was allowed to resume “dry run gaming” for the remaining two weeks in the second quarter starting June 15.
“Such dry run operations, which involve only in-house and select invited guests, are a means for Solaire to fine-tune its services in accordance with new normal health and safety protocols,” the company explained in its stock exchange filing.
This allowed it to post P686.6 million in gross gaming revenues in the second quarter. The figure was still down by 95 percent year-on-year.
Of those gaming revenues, 50 percent were from mass table, 3 percent for VIP tables and 8.2 percent for slots.
Apart from Solaire, Bloomberry operates the Jeju Sun Hotel & Casino in South Korea. The unit also reported gaming revenues of P93.1 million—a drop of 76 percent in the first semester of 2020.
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