Hong Kong-listed LET Group Holdings Ltd, an investor in a number of Asia-Pacific region casino projects, says it is seeking financing to complete the development of a casino hotel at the Westside City project in Manila, the Philippine capital.
That is according to a message from the firm’s chairman, Andrew Lo Kai Bong, included in LET Group’s annual report for 2022, published on Thursday. The company narrowed its annual loss attributable to shareholders to just under HKD408.8 million (US$52.1 million) in 2022.
“LET Group is proposing to seek financing for the project from a local financial institution through LET Group’s subsidiary, Suntrust Resort Holdings Inc, that provides the necessary capital to deliver a world-class integrated resort experience unparalleled in the region,” stated Mr Lo.
“A local bank’s approval of the project, based on its familiarity with the local business environment, can be regarded as a vote of confidence that bolsters investor sentiment,” he added.
Mr Lo confirmed that the casino hotel (pictured in an artist’s rendering) at the Westside City project was due to “commence operations in 2024”.
The complex is to feature 460 five-star rooms, and a casino facility that “would cater to both mass and VIP markets”. Based on information provided in previous filings, the project has a price tag of approximately US$1 billion.
LET Group – formerly known as Suncity Group Holdings Ltd – has had, in the course of its business, interest in a number of casino projects in the Asia-Pacific region, including in Vietnam and the Philippines.
Mr Lo said that via “restructuring” of the group’s assets, LET Group “will concentrate” its resources “in the Philippines gaming market, specifically on the development of the Westside City project”.
He added: “We firmly believe that this project is the cornerstone of our future success, as we strive to seize new growth opportunities in the Philippine integrated resort market.”
According to the executive, the Philippines gaming market presents “significant potential”, with “local Filipinos and expatriate patrons” contributing “more than a third of the Philippines’ gross gaming revenue”.
Mr Lo also said the Manila project represented the firm’s “most significant growth opportunity”, as the Philippines “permits local Filipinos to frequent integrated resorts, conferring a degree of stability and resilience” on such business in that country.
He added: “Developing the mass-market segment will be a key component of the Westside City project.”
LET Group also has an interest – via Hong Kong-listed Summit Ascent Holdings Ltd – in a hotel and gaming business called Tigre de Cristal in the Integrated Entertainment Zone of the Primorye Region, near Russia’s Pacific port of Vladivostok.
In his message, Mr Lo said he would “like to reassure shareholders that the decision to slow down the development at Tigre de Cristal Phase II was a prudent business decision reached after careful consideration and analysis.”
In March, Summit Ascent said Phase II development of Tigre de Cristal – originally planned nearly to double the complex’s accommodation capacity and non-gaming amenities – remained “suspended to minimise the group’s capital expenditures and commitments”.
“The current commercial climate in Russia poses difficulties in guaranteeing a consistent return on investment to LET Group,” Mr Lo said in the annual report’s message.
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