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Plans for old Sta. Ana racetrack still under study amid downturn

Tuesday, June 16, 2009 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES [ BusinessWorld Online ]

LISTED PHILIPPINE Racing Club, Inc. will pursue plans to convert its old racetrack in Makati into a property development amid sluggish business as a result of the economic downturn.

"We are still studying the plan but we might convert the 21-hectare Sta. Ana [racetrack] in Makati into a commercial and residential [project]," Philippine Racing Club President Solomon S. Cua said at the sidelines of the company’s stockholders’ meeting yesterday.

Mr. Cua did not disclose other details but said the residential component would likely have vertical and horizontal developments. But he said it was too early to say if real estate industry will become a second business.

For this year, the Philippine Racing Club does not expect profits to increase because of additional costs for the improvement of its new Cavite racetrack and because of the economic slowdown.

People are cutting down on leisure activities, according to the president of the Philippine Racing Club.

"Starting last year we have already experienced a slowdown. This is a reflection of the economic situation. I doubt if we can improve last year’s profits. Reaching a break-even is already a tall order," he said.

Mr. Cua said the entire horsera-cing industry went down last year although the company managed to improve its market share to 54% last year from 51% in 2007.

"We are hoping that this year we will be able to maintain our profits but it seems hard because of the crisis. During hard times, the first thing that people cut is the entertainment," he said.

Nevertheless, Mr. Cua is optimistic of finishing improvements at the 70-hectare Saddle & Clubs Leisure Park in Naic, Cavite.

The Philippine Racing Club is planning additional facilities such as more horse stalls and an inner track, because of "a lot of clamor [from] interested parties."

Right now, stalls in the Cavite track can accommodate 1,000 horses. The plan is to increase this to 1,400 by yearend. — Kristine Jane R. Liu


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