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Uruguay – Conrad Punta del Este Resort to expand its hotel offering

By - 26 June 2015

The Conrad Punta del Este Resort has announced plans to expand and to double its number of hotel rooms.

The initiative, which has already been approved by the General Directorate of Urban Planning of the Municipality of Maldonado, will be put before the Departmental Board for evaluation in the coming days. The project envisages the construction of an additional 350 rooms and work could begin in March next year. The project includes the development of two towers which would be constructed on either side of the current building.

The move, if approved, would be a welcome boost to the local construction industry which has been impacted by the worsening Argentine economy which has discouraged investment in the sector. Argentines are the main source of tourists for Uruguay but now face a number of difficulties when going aboard including a 15 per cent tax on credit and debit card spending overseas.

In March 2013 The Uruguayan government approved a deal where the current operator of the Conrad hotel and casino in Uruguay would switch from Baluma SA to Enjoy SA meaning that Enjoy took control over the Conrad. The deal was first announced in November 2012. In 2013 Enjoy S.A. announced plans to is to invest US$20m renovating the Conrad. Improvements would feature a technological restaurant bar and a night club with operations going around the clock.

It is believed that more major changes could be on the way for the landmark casino and hotel. In May this year it was announced that Chilean casino operator Enjoy had instructed the Bank of America’s corporate and investment banking division Merrill Lynch with the task of finding a partner to participate in its plan to keep 100 per cent of the casino Conrad in Punta del Este in Uruguay, acquiring the 55 per cent it currently has in Caesars Entertainment.

Enjoy has given the bank a broad mandate, with the only specification being that the partner will be able to contribute in an area where they say they have limited experience: real estate. In May President of Enjoy Antonio Martinez explained that the trend in the casino industry globally is that 60 percent of business revenues come from non gaming areas, which is not the case for Enjoy – a situation which the company is trying to reverse.

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