Travellers allots $600 M for Resorts World Manila expansion

Neil Jerome C. Morales (The Philippine Star) - July 19, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Travellers International Hotel Group Inc. has allotted $600 million for the second and third phases of Resorts World Manila hotel and casino complex.

The company will focus on the captive tourism and gaming markets of Resorts World Manila before pursuing the $1.1-billion Resorts World Bayshore along Manila Bay, its top executive said.

Travellers Group president Kingson U. Sian told reporters that the 12-hectare Resorts World Manila is already a prime lot with a mature tourism and gaming market.

Sian said Travellers Group will focus on “mature areas so returns will be faster” compared with brownfield projects like Resorts World Bayshore.

Travellers Group will spend $600 million as it pursues Phase 2 and 3 of Resorts World Manila despite the deferral of its P42-billion initial public offering (IPO).

Specifically, the hotel and casino operator will complete the 5,000-seat convention center with function rooms in 2014, the Marriott Hotel expansion in 2015, and new hotels Hilton and Sheraton in 2016.

Phase 2 and 3 will allow Travellers Group to increase retail space by 60 percent and add 1,100 rooms to the existing 1,226 rooms in Resorts World Manila’s hotels  – Maxim’s, Marriott and Remington.

Sian said given more rooms, Travellers Group can nearly double its gaming area, which is currently comprised of more than 300 tables and more than 1,800 slot machines.

The expansion program will be fully funded amid the postponement of Travellers Group’s public share sale.

“If we don’t do the IPO, we can always go to the debt market. We have unutilized debt capacities and the company has cash,” Sian said. To date, the company has $250-300 million in credit line.

Early this month, Travellers Group Inc. decided to defer its P42-billion IPO given volatile market conditions. Proceeds of the share sale were intended to finance Phase 2 and 3 of the 12-hectare Resorts World Manila.

“We will wait for the right timing,” Sian said, adding that the company will revisit its listing plan once the market stabilizes.

Sian said Travellers Group’s $1.1-billion Resorts World Bayshore will be opened in 2017, at the earliest.

The casino complex is located in Entertainment City, a 120-hectare property reclaimed from Manila Bay. Pagcor Entertainment City is the country’s answer to the Las Vegas, Singapore and Macau gaming hubs.

Resorts World Bayshore will be the last integrated resort complex to start operations in the Entertainment City. The three other casino license holders are Bloomberry Resorts Corp. of port magnate Enrique Razon, taipan Henry Sy’s Belle Corp. in partnership with Macau’s Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd., and Japanese gaming tycoon Kazuo Okada.

“We believe that with the opening of Solaire, we are expanding the market,” Sian said, adding that Resorts World Manila is enjoying a foot traffic of 18,000-20,000 a day, which spikes to as high as 30,000 during weekend.


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