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LRWC eyes hotels with gaming facilities

By Neil Jerome C. Morales (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 29, 2013 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Hotel and recreation firm Leisure & Resorts World Corp. (LRWC) is ramping up its bingo and hotel gaming facilities ahead of the opening of a $1.3-billion megacasino next year.
The listed company is on the lookout for more hotels with gaming facilities while beefing up its electronic gaming portfolio, officials said.
For instance, LRWC allotted P500 million to build an annex for Midas Hotel and Casino, LRWC president Reynaldo Bantug told reporters. Bantug said the expansion, which is in the planning stage, will increase the hotel’s gaming area, rooms and common areas.
“We also have growth in core projects like the bingo boutique. We are also funding that,” Bantug said. LRWC, which will roll out more bingo boutiques, is enjoying brisk revenues from its electronic bingo machines.
On Friday, shareholders approved the plan of LRWC to issue P250 million worth of series 2 preferred shares. The preferred shares carry a yield of 8.5-percent dividend per year.
“Our core business is in gaming. But nowadays, you package gaming plus amenities,” Bantug said.
In November, LRWC secured a 50-percent stake in Midas Hotel and Casino along Roxas Boulevard.
“We are always on the lookout for opportunities especially in the gaming area. We think the gaming industry is a growth industry in the Philippines,” Bantug said.
Late last week, a subsidiary of LRWC secured the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.’s (Pagcor) approval to operatejunket operations in Midas Hotel and Casino. Pagcor operates the gaming facilities in the hotel.
LRWC investor relations chief Freddie Reyes said the junket operations target Asian high rollers, particularly Chinese mainlanders.
The expansion program of existing businesses will allow LRWC to post higher earnings ahead of the operations of the $1.3-billion Belle Grande Manila integrated casino complex in ParaƱaque.
Early this month, LRWC raised P1.65 billion through preferred shares, which will primarily finance LRWC’s participation in the Belle Grande integrated resort and casino project.
The proceeds will also bankroll construction and capital expenditures of Midas Hotel and Casino and Techzone office building, which will offer more than 75,000 square meters of gross floor area in Makati.
LRWC will also acquire and roll-out additional bingo sites.
“The significant impact (of Belle Grande Manila) on LRWC’s bottomline will be felt in the latter part of 2014 and 2015,” Bantug said.
LRWC subsidiary AB Leisure Global Inc. is entitled to 30 percent of the fixed yearly income generated from the lease of all commercial spaces in Belle Grande Manila. It will also earn from casino operations.

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