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Belle readies P5-b rights offering to fund casinos

by Jenniffer B. Austria
[ ] June 15,2011

Belle Corp., a property and gaming company controlled by retail tycoon Henry Sy, is raising as much as P5 billion through a stock rights offering to partially fund casino projects.

Belle said in a disclosure to the stock exchange its board approved the offering of common shares to shareholders to finance the $1-billion Belle Grande Manila Bay Project in Pasay City.

The company said it would finalize terms and conditions of the rights issue, including the size, price and record date, pending approval by regulators

Belle tapped BDO Capital and Investments Corp. as underwriter for the rights issue.

Belle is constructing the Belle Grande Manila Bay project, an integrated resort and casino project slated for soft opening by the second quarter of next year.

Belle Grande Manila Bay during the soft opening will have 150 to 170 tables and 1,500 slot machines and a gaming space of 12,836 square meters of gross floor area.

The project by the end of 2012 will contain 350 gaming tables, 1,900 slot machines and a gaming area of 19,626 sq. m.

The company also plans to build two hotels offering 159 rooms and 86 suites. The first is a five-star hotel that will target the VIP and junket gaming customers while second is a four-star hotel geared toward the mass market.

Belle is separately building four condotel towers offering 466 units. It may sell the units to investors and place them in a pool to be managed by the company or a hotel operator.

A variety of non-gaming amenities are in the pipeline to drive additional foot traffic to the integrated resort project. Among these are high-end retail and dining outlets and arts theater.

Belle last year signed a P5.6-billion loan facility with Banco De Oro Unibank to fund the construction of the casino complex. The casino will target the big spenders from across Asia.

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