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6 April 2010

Philippines: Port operator to set up gambling hub

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Philippine businessman Enrique K. Razon Jr. has set his sights on the lucrative local casino industry with the acquisition of one of the four companies given the right to develop 85 hectares of reclaimed land in Parañaque City into Asia’s next major gambling hub, reported the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Razon, who runs port giant International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI), announced Monday that he has acquired a controlling stake in Bloombury Investments Holdings Inc. from businessman Jose CH. Alvarez.

Bloombury is one of four companies with a provisional license to establish and operate a gaming and entertainment complex for the Bagong Nayong Pilipino Entertainment City of the state-owned Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) at the Manila Bay reclamation area in Parañaque City.

Razon said he would infuse $100 million, or roughly 5 billion peso, in fresh equity into Bloombury.

Despite being a newly formed company without any proven track record in the industry, Bloombury in 2008 was among four companies awarded the right to develop parts of the Manila Bay reclamation area into a world-class gambling complex.

“Bloombury is in the final stages of the design development for the initial phase of the project. Construction is expected to commence by the third quarter of this year at an estimated Phase 1 Project cost of around $400 million,” Razon said in a statement.

Once completed, the complex will include two five-star luxury hotel towers of more than 1,000 rooms within a world-class Entertainment and Convention facility.

“The ultra modern complex is expected to be fully operational in two years and hopes to draw in large groups of tourists. Moreover, the project is expected to stimulate growth not only in the hotel and restaurant sector, but also in the construction and services sectors,” Razon said.

The three other firms given licenses to develop the complex are retail conglomerate SM Investments Corp., locally listed property developer Alliance Global Inc., which is partnered with Travellers International Hotel Group Inc., and Japan’s Azure Group.


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