Why Belle is not part of SM's mega merger
MANILA, Philippines – Sy-led high-end residential and leisure property developer Belle Corp. will not be included in SM’s mega merger.
In a press conference on Friday, May 31, SM Prime's Chief Finance Officer Jeffrey Lim said that Belle’s gaming assets make it incompatible with the real estate property merger.
Lim added that synergies between SM Prime, the surviving firm of the merger, and Belle have yet to be mapped out.
“We are still thinking about it,” Henry Sy Jr., vice chairman of holding company SM Investments Corp (SMIC) and SM Prime's parent, said when asked about Belle consolidation into SM Prime. Acquisition of Belle’s non-gaming assets is still being considered.
Belle said in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange that a tender offer of 35.8% of its shares in Highland Prime in accordance to the merger.
Belle is about 60%-owned by SMIC and was the entity in the group's foray into the gaming industry, starting with SMIC's purchase of a stake in casino-hosting Tagaytay Highlands about a decade ago.
Belle is one of the 4 business groups granted the right to build and operate casino and entertainment operations at the up-and-coming 120-hectare Pagcor Entertainment City, Manila's big bet on the booming Asian gaming industry.
The sprawling casino and entertainment property sits almost next to the landmark Mall of Asia complex of SM Prime at the Manila Bay.
Belle has partnered with Australia's 4th richest and Macau's gambling tycoon for the project. Crown Limited's James Packer and gambling tycoon Lawrence Ho had formalized their deal in October 2012 to develop the $1.2 billion Belle Grande located in a 6.2 hectare property with a gross floor area of 300,000 square meters (sqm).
The project will contain 20,000 sqm of gaming space, 6 hotel towers with a total of 950 rooms and a number of high-end bars and restaurants.
Under the memorandum of agreement sealed by Belle and Melco last July 2012, Belle will remain as lessor of the land from the government, but will turn over to Melco the task of continuing the constructing, fitting out and operating Belle Grande Manila Bay. - Rappler.com