Razon bets on better PH gaming climate in 2016

Chrisee Dela Paz
Razon bets on better PH gaming climate in 2016
Casino operator Bloomberry Resorts Corporation narrows losses in the third quarter of 2015 on the back of improving Philippine operations

MANILA, Philippines — The anticipated high rollers entering the Philippines will still mainly come from Southeast Asia, not China.

“Our high rollers in the past two years did not come from China. They come mainly from Southeast Asia. They are still around…that will still continue,” business mogul Enrique Razon Jr said in an interview with Rappler, as casino operator Bloomberry Resorts Corporation narrowed its losses in the third quarter of 2015 on the back of improving Philippine operations.

The owner and operator of Solaire Resort & Casino and Jeju Sun Hotel & Casino reported to the local bourse on Tuesday, November 4, a net loss of P189.48 million ($4.04 million) in the third quarter – a turnaround from the net profit of P991.67 million ($21.16 million) in the same period last year.

The third quarter bleeding was smaller than the P787-million ($16.79-million) loss booked in the second quarter, thanks to the profitable operations at Solaire, Bloomberry said.

These third quarter results boosted Bloomberry’s 9-month revenues to P19.42 billion ($414.42 million), up 14.4% from P16.975 billion ($362.25 million) in the same period last year.

Sunnier outlook

“Our investments in the Sky Tower are beginning to show returns. Given the improvement in Philippine operations and the opening of a new revenue stream, we are hopeful that returns will continue to gain higher ground,” Bloomberry Chairman and CEO Razon said in a disclosure on Tuesday.

Sky Tower features a 312-key all suite 5-star hotel; a 1,760-seat Broadway-style theater; a luxury cigar and whisky bar; 1,000 square meters of meeting space; an international karaoke bar; and additional gaming facilities. 

For 2016, Razon said the Philippine gaming industry is not likely to share the fate of Macau.

Prominent Chinese high rollers have skipped Macau casinos following Beijing’s crackdown on corruption. This has dealt a blow on Macau casino shares.

“Over the next few quarters, Bloomberry’s losses will narrow and we will end up in the black. The stock prices, it is something we cannot control. It’s really the investors….I’d say one of the reasons the stock has fallen because its been affected by what’s happening in Macau,” Razon said in an interview last month.

“The Philippines is not Macau. Its revenue from here is still growing. Investors treat gaming issues or gaming industry as a whole. If we’re out of favor, they are all out of favor. That is something we cannot do anything about. All we do is run a business and do a good job. How the stock performs is up to investors,” Razon said.

A plus for PH: Non-gaming

The Bloomberry chief showed optimism when asked for his outlook for the whole local casino industry.

“I think quite good. More supplies are coming in. Supply is slightly ahead of the market. The market continues to grow. Plus, here, there is an attraction for non-gaming activities. That’s another thing which you don’t really have in Macau. That’s a plus for the Philippines,” Razon said.

In the first 9 months of 2015, gross gaming revenues went up by 14% to P24.55 billion ($523.90 million); while non-gaming revenues surged 53% to P1.38 billion ($29.45 million).

“Gaming will still be the driver. But once it matures, it will be the non-gaming aspects. And we will start expanding that,” Razon added.

The Bloomberry chief expects his gaming empire to be back in the black in 2016, banking on a sunnier local gaming market and growing demands from Thailand, Korea, and Taiwan.

On Tuesday, just after it announced its third quarter results, Bloomberry shares increased by 7.02% ending at P6.4 ($0.136) apiece. – Rappler.com

$1 = P46.86

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