MANILA, Philippines - The business groups led by businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan are not joining the casino bandwagon most of the country's biggest business groups want a piece of.
"It's a business we're not good at, the casino industry," Pangilinan said during a press briefing on the financial performance of infrastructure conglomerate Metro Pacific Investment Corp (MPIC) on Thursday, February 28.
"It's no judgment on the business itself, but it's just a business we're not good at," he added, referring to the upcoming Pagcor Entertainment City in Pasay City.
Major business groups, including those led by Enrique Razon, Henry Sy and Andrew Tan, were granted rights to develop and operate casino and tourism-related operations in the sprawling property meant to put the Philippines in the global gaming map.
The group of another tycoon, John Gokongwei Jr, is eyeing a partnership with controversial Japanese businessman Kazuo Okada for the retail and hotel aspects.
Macau-based Melco Crown led by Australian billionaire James Packer and Macau's Lawrence Ho have sealed a deal with the Sy group.
However, the religious convictions of Mrs. Sy, a devout Catholic, have led the family to keep a Chinese wall between the casino and the real estate and retail components of the venture.
Officials of local conglomerate Ayala Land earlier said they are also not keen on joining the casino-retail-real estate bandwagon since they want to prioritize family-oriented projects.
The Pangilinan group has stakes in infrastructure, telecommunications, media, utility and extractive industries. - video clip and reports by Aya Lowe/Rappler.com