Ra­zon eyes gam­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties in Asia

Business World - - CORPORATE NEWS - By Arra B. Fran­cia Re­porter

PORTS and gam­ing ty­coon En­rique K. Ra­zon, Jr. is scouting for op­por­tu­ni­ties to ex­pand his gam­ing busi­ness in Asia.

Mr. Ra­zon, who chairs Bloomberry Re­sorts Corp., said his en­try into other coun­tries in the re­gion would de­pend on ex­ist­ing leg­is­la­tions. Bloomberry is the op­er­a­tor of So­laire Re­sort and Casino, lo­cated in En­ter­tain­ment City in the Philip­pine cap­i­tal.

He said the com­pany would con­sider ex­pand­ing into the gam­ing in­dus­try in the ASEAN (As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions) re­gion, as well as Ja­pan.

“If they open up, Ja­pan. There’s a law… When the im­ple­ment­ing rules come out,” Mr. Ra­zon told re­porters at the side­lines of the ASEAN Busi­ness In­vest­ment Sum­mit in Parañaque City on Mon­day.

In 2016, Ja­pan passed a law le­gal­iz­ing casi­nos, paving the way for in­ter­na­tional casino op­er­a­tors to ex­pand in the coun­try. The gov­ern­ment how­ever has yet to iron out guide­lines and reg­u­la­tions that would al­low com­pa­nies to of­fi­cially start putting up in­te­grated re­sorts and casi­nos.

Mr. Ra­zon noted Bloomberry’s ex­pan­sion in the Philip­pines would also de­pend on the reg­u­la­tory en­vi­ron­ment.

As for the com­pany’s Jeju Sun Ho­tel and Casino in South Korea, Mr. Ra­zon said there are no more plans to sell the busi­ness, as op­er­a­tions have be­come pos­i­tive.

“We are no longer sell­ing it be­cause op­er­a­tions have im­proved,” he said.

In 2016, Bloomberry’s Korean unit, So­laire Korea Co. Ltd., struck a deal to sell 96.23% of its stake in Jeju Sun to Golden & Lux­ury Co. Ltd. for around P4.7 bil­lion. The deal how­ever fell through as Mr. Ra­zon noted the buyer lacked fund­ing.

The listed casino op­er­a­tor re­ported Jeju Sun gen­er­ated a pos­i­tive EBITDA ( earn­ings be­fore in­ter­est, tax­a­tion, de­pre­ci­a­tion, and amor­ti­za­tion) dur­ing the third quar­ter of 2017, the first time since Bloomberry ac­quired the com­pany in 2015. Jeju Sun also de­liv­ered a 436% in­crease in gross gam­ing rev­enues to P151 mil­lion for the third quar­ter of 2017.

Aside from So­laire, Bloomberry also has a 1.5-hectare prop­erty in­side Ayala Land, Inc.’s Ver­tis North es­tate in Que­zon City. It also has a land bank cov­er­ing 33.16 hectares in Muui and Silm Is­lands in Korea.

Bloomberry’s at­trib­ut­able profit in­creased 31% in the third quar­ter of 2017 to P1.86 bil­lion, fol­low­ing a higher VIP hold rate as well as more mass mar­ket plays that boosted a 22% year-on-year growth in rev­enues to P9.59 bil­lion.

This brought the listed firm’s nine-month earn­ings at­trib­ut­able to the par­ent to P5.96 bil­lion, 271% up from the P1.6 bil­lion re­al­ized in the same pe­riod a year ago.

Shares in Bloomberry lost 38 cen­tavos or 3.49% to P10.50 each at the stock ex­change on Mon­day.

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