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Local Melco Crown unit raises P2.16 B

By Neil Jerome C. Morales (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 10, 2013 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - The local unit of Macau-based casino giant Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. has raised more than P2 billion from the sale of treasury shares.
The fundraising is in line with the company’s plan to bankroll a $1.3-billion casino complex in Manila, its first foray outside Macau.
In a disclosure, Melco Crown (Philippines) Resorts Corp. said it sold all of its 150.43 million treasury shares at P14.20 apiece.
The transaction allowed the gaming firm to raise P2.16 billion in fresh capital.
Treasury stocks are company-owned shares which might have come from a buyback from shareholders or it might have never been sold to the public.
Last week, the local Melco unit announced its plan to conduct an international roadshow this month as part of its $400-million share sale that will broaden the company’s investor base and bankroll the construction of the integrated resort and casino complex.
The $1.3-billion, 920-room Belle Grande Manila Bay casino and resort, a joint venture with the SM Group’s upscale leisure developer and gaming unit Belle Corp., will start operations in June or July next year.
Belle and Melco Crown will be the second casino operator in  Entertainment City, following the $1.2-billion Solaire Resort and Casino of port magnate Enrique Razon that opened last month.
The government is grooming the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.’s (Pagcor) 120-hectare Entertainment City along Manila Bay as a competitor of the Las Vegas, Singapore and Macau gaming hubs.
Belle Grande Manila Bay will be Melco Crown’s first casino outside Macau where it operates the City of Dreams and Altira Macau casinos.
The company is developing its third casino, Studio City, which is slated for opening in 2015.
The project is also the first gaming venture of the Sy family, whose flagship company SM Investments Corp. is involved in five core businesses – retail merchandising, mall operations, property, banking and hotel and leisure.
Pagcor forecasts that gambling revenues in the Philippines will grow from $1.3 billion in 2011 to at least $10 billion by 2017 coming from the operations of the four gaming complexes in Entertainment City.

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