Philippine-listed conglomerate Ayala Corp has confirmed a media report that it is interested in participating in development work priced at PHP15 billion (US$338 million) at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (pictured), in the country’s capital Manila.
A former senior official at the local gaming regulator, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor), last year told GGRAsia that improvement to the infrastructure of Manila – including at Ninoy Aquino airport – was an important factor if Manila wants to be a international hub for casino tourism. The facility is said to be operating in excess of its official annual 28-million passenger journey capacity.
Ayala Corp said in a filing on Monday to the Philippine Stock Exchange: “We wish to confirm that the company, through its wholly owned subsidiary AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp, is interested to participate in the bidding for the development of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport if the bidding materialises.”
It added however that it had “no plans” to participate in bidding for work on five other regional airports in the country, reportedly being offered as a bundled tender by the national government.
The Philippine Star newspaper had reported Ayala Corp’s managing director John Eric Francia saying the firm was contemplating joining the Manila airport bidding – currently being finalised by the country’s Department of Transportation and Communications – for the revamp of the capital’s airport.
Ninoy Aquino International Airport is across the road from Resorts World Manila, the capital’s first major private sector casino resort to be licensed by Pagcor, and which had a first phase opening in 2009.
In October last year, United States-based casino company Caesars Entertainment Corp said it was interested in building a gambling venue on land adjoining the airport; possibly as the world’s first ‘fly-in‘ casino. But in December Pagcor said it would not consider issuing any new casino licences in the country until after President Benigno Aquino steps down in mid-2016.
Ayala Corp in May 2014 announced its unit Ayala Land Inc had signed a deal to operate a shopping mall at Solaire Resort and Casino, the second major private sector gaming resort to open in Manila.
On May 13 last year, Ayala Land said in a filing it had signed a deal with a unit of Bloomberry Resorts Corp, the developer of the US$1.2-billion Solaire, to operate a “premium shopping centre” at the property in Pagcor’s Entertainment City casino district.
Ayala Land stated it had reached an agreement with Sureste Properties Inc, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bloomberry, to serve as the leasing and marketing agent for a more than 5,000-square metre (53,819-square feet) retail section at Solaire. The shopping mall is to open in stages later this year.
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"If the [Macau casino] concessions are put up for bid, there will also be a lot of giant Chinese companies, some having nothing to do with gaming, which would like to take over these enormously successful casinos”
Professor emeritus at Whittier Law School in California, in the United States, and a visiting professor at University of Macau