State-run casino operator and regulator the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor) can now proceed to direct negotiations for the disposal of two parcels of land where Solaire Resort and Casino (pictured) stands in Manila, the Philippine capital, an industry source told GGRAsia.
Pagcor can now engage in direct negotiation after two failed rounds of public auction in, respectively, November and January, the person added.
The only bid was submitted by Sureste Properties Inc, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bloomberry Resorts Corp, the owner and operator of the Solaire property.
Under Pagcor’s public bidding rules, there must be at least two qualified bids in order for the process to be considered to be valid.
“They [Pagcor] didn’t even have to open the bid,” said the industry source. “Pagcor is now free to negotiate with interested parties that want to purchase the land,” the person added.
The minimum bid price for the combined plots – amounting to 160,359 square metres (1.73 million sq feet) – was PHP37.23 billion (US$739.0 million), according to Pagcor documents.
Pagcor could now try an alternative route for privatising the land by negotiating a sale directly with a potential buyer, including Bloomberry. GGRAsia approached Pagcor for comment, but no reply to our enquiries had been received by the time this story went online.
Bloomberry could benefit from acquiring the land on which Solaire stands, suggested banking group Morgan Stanley in a note in November. The institution said that if the casino firm were to buy the two plots, the purchase could “put Bloomberry’s valuation comparable to peers who own their land”.
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”After concluding 20 years of experience in gaming development, we can retain the good parts. Meanwhile, we have to face up to the problems that arose, study them and plug the loopholes”
Ho Iat Seng
Macau’s Chief Executive-designate