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Philippines – Melco rings the Belle to tune of $600m

By - 18 March 2013

Melco Crown Entertainment has now signed an agreement to guarantee a US$600m cash injection into the Belle Grande integrated gaming resort in Manila.

Lawrence Ho , Co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Melco Crown Entertainment was joined by Co. Chairman James Packer in Manila to make the announcement along with Belle Corp owner and Philippine billionaire Henry Sy. The project is set to open in mid-2012.

Located on a 6.2 hectare site at the gateway of Entertainment City, within the Manila Bay area, MCE Leisure’s integrated resort complex will include mass market and VIP gaming facilities, unique food and beverage offerings, numerous innovative entertainment attractions together with high-end boutique and VIP and five-star luxury hotel rooms, suites and villas.

Mr. Ho said: “It has always been our vision to pioneer the most innovative, world-class entertainment and leisure attractions throughout Asia, including the Philippines. The Philippines is a rapidly emerging market, with a burgeoning middle class and strong economic growth expected to contribute to robust growth in domestic tourism. Helped by a committed and forward-thinking Government approach to driving tourism, the Philippines is also well placed to cater to the increasingly affluent and growing middle class throughout Asia, who continue to seek new travel destinations and experiences throughout the region. We are confident that our Manila resort project would contribute meaningfully to the Philippines Government’s aim to promote tourism. We are also looking forward to working with Belle Corporation of the SM Group, one of the leading developers of high-end residential and leisure properties in the Philippines, to bring this exciting project to realization and ensure its long term success.”

Willy Ocier, Vice Chairman of Belle Corp, added: “It is not just a casino but a whole lot of entertainment, all in support of the tourism industry in the Philippines. We are catering to the middle-income foreigners in the region. Our thrust is to get more tourists in the Philippines.”

With a vision of bringing an outstanding and multi-dimensional entertainment experience to Manila, the resort’s entertainment elements will leverage off Melco Crown Entertainment’s experience in delivering spectacular entertainment attractions catering towards Asian tastes and preferences. The integrated resort will feature three distinctive entertainment venues, including Manila’s first branded Family Entertainment Center, a live performance central lounge inside the casino and a night club situated at the Fortune Egg, an architecturally-unique dome-like structure, which will be accented with creative exterior lighting design and is expected to become an iconic landmark of the Manila Bay area.

Mr. Ho expects gaming revenues in the Philippines to triple to $3bn by 2015, from about $1bn annually. “If you project that and extrapolate it even further down the road, the Philippines in five, six years could be effectively the size of Las Vegas or Singapore,” he explained.

He also believes that due to its Macau connection, Melco Crown Entertainment will be able to attract more Chinese tourists to Belle than the other operators.

“Ultimately, we do have one of the largest databases in terms of Chinese and also Asian visitors. I think that’s going to be a significant contributor to our success,” he said. “We’re very excited about our project. We think that the Philippines is one of the fastest-growing and most exciting countries around. For the next probably 30-50 years the main growth in entertainment and gaming is going to be in Asia.  We think our Philippine venture is going to be a key contributor to our business. This is definitely a city where people love to enjoy and live life.”

Mr. Ho concluded: “We are grateful of the support from the Chinese and Australian Embassies regarding our new integrated casino resort in Manila, which provides us with an opportunity to showcase our vast experience in designing and operating World-Class gaming and entertainment resorts in Asia. We would also like to express our gratitude to the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and PAGCOR for providing us with this unique opportunity to be involved in the exciting and dynamic Entertainment City development, which we believe will meaningfully enhance the Philippines as a World-Class leisure and tourism destination.”

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