Mar 24, 2023 Newsdesk Latest News, Rest of Asia, Top of the deck
Piling work for Naga 3, an addition to the NagaWorld gaming complex in Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh, was at “96 percent completion”, said the promoter’s 2022 annual report, issued on Thursday. Work on the main building at Naga 3 would start in mid-2023, stated NagaCorp Ltd.
That compared to “72 percent” completion for such piling as of June 30, the date of the firm’s interim report. The company, listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, has a long-life casino monopoly in Phnom Penh.
“The development of Naga 3 is moving forward as planned and making good progress,” said the firm in the annual report. Though NagaCorp’s spending on the scheme slowed in 2022, relative to 2021.
The annual report mentioned nonetheless that once completed, “it is expected that the combined complex of NagaWorld (Naga 1, Naga 2 and Naga 3) will have approximately 5,000 hotel rooms, 1,300 gaming tables and 4,500 electronic gaming machines,” said the report.
The document also gave an update on construction of Naga 3’s three towers. It said the basement and ground floor for Tower 3 was “nearing completion”, while Tower 1 had reached “basement four”.
“Upon full completion of Tower 2 basements and ground floor at mid-2023, main building work for Tower 1 and Tower 3 shall commence,” said NagaCorp.
It added Tower 2 and podium section of basements and ground floor were due to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2023.
In 2019 – prior to casino-sector trading worldwide being severely disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic – Naga 3 was being described as a US$3.5-billion scheme, with half the funding to come from the founder and chief executive, Chen Lip Keong.
NagaCorp’s 50-percent share of total costs resulted, in 2022, in the firm being billed nearly US$93.3 million by the Naga 3 contractor, compared to the US$222.8-million bill for the scheme in 2021.
As well as the effects felt from the pandemic, a number of investment analysts has said mainland China’s crackdown in the past few years on “cross-border gambling” by wealthy residents, has had an impact on the business outlook for Asia-Pacific casinos aside from those in Macau.
Nonetheless, in early February this year, NagaCorp reported a net profit of nearly US$107.3 million for full-year 2022, compared to a loss of US$147.0 million in the prior year.
Earlier this month, Moody’s Investors Service placed NagaCorp’s ‘B2’ corporate family rating on review for downgrade, on what it said was “heightened refinancing risk”.
“The ratings review reflects the likelihood of a downgrade if NagaCorp fails to make substantial progress over the next three months to refinance its outstanding US$472 million bond coming due in July 2024,” said Moody’s analyst Yu Sheng Tay, as cited in the report.
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