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Belle kicks off share sale to raise P4.5B

Posted on September 21, 2011 11:10:19 PM [ BusinessWorld Online ]

LUXURY DEVELOPER Belle Corp. will start selling more common shares to current stockholders today in a bid to net P4.507 billion for the construction of its casino complex along Manila Bay.

The rights offer of the Sy-led property firm will run until Sept. 28 with shareholders entitled to purchase one stock at P3 apiece for every six they already own, the final prospectus released on Tuesday showed.

Shares will be listed by Oct. 10.

The share price is 39.4% lower than the company’s average common share price of P4.82 in the 15 days preceding July 12, the pricing date for the share offer.

BDO Capital & Investments Corp. will serve as issue manager and underwriter for the transaction, while Deutsche Bank will act as international financial adviser.

Net proceeds from the share offer will be used to finance an estimated 13.9% of the construction costs of the $1-billion Belle Grande Manila Bay, the company’s integrated resort and gaming complex.

The development will rise on a 6.2-hectare site within the Bagong Nayong Pilipino Entertainment City. State-run Philippine Gaming and Amusement Corp. has issued the project one of the four integrated casino permits.

According to the prospectus, nearly half, or P2.240 billion of the proceeds, will be directed toward the construction of VIP suites and a four-star hotel in the complex.

Around P1.153 billion will go to building the so-called Belle Grande Suites Towers, while the remaining P1.115 billion will be allotted for a casino.

Belle’s rights issue comes on top of the company’s aggressive financing for Belle Grande Manila Bay. Last December, the company secured a P5.6-billion loan facility from BDO Unibank, Inc. for Belle Grande construction funds.

Phase one of the development, which is intended to open in the second quarter next year, will feature a portion of the casino’s planned gaming area with up to 170 tables, 1,500 slot machines and 3,539 square meters of retail and restaurant space.

On the other hand, phase two, scheduled for opening by the end of 2013, will comprise of two hotel towers and the four-building Belle Grande Suites towers, which will bring total capacity in Belle Grande Manila Bay to 88 suites and 792 rooms.

The company’s profits fell by 43.7% to P102.1 million in the first semester versus year-ago levels due to lower revenues.

Belle shares slipped by 0.50% to P4 yesterday from P4.02 in its previous close. -- Franz Jonathan G. de la Fuente

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