Melco Crown (Philippines) Resorts Corp, which in December will open City of Dreams Manila (pictured in a rendering) for what management refers to as a “sneak peak”, hired nearly 2,200 workers in the third quarter of 2014. That was 89 percent up on the prior quarter ending June 30. The firm had a workforce of 4,679 employees as of September 30, it said in a filing to the Philippine Stock Exchange.
The large scale recruitment ahead of the soft opening next month had an impact on the company’s operating loss in the period. The loss for the three months to September 30 was PHP1.8 billion (US$40.0 million), up 162 percent from a year earlier.
The increase was primarily related to pre-opening costs “as a result of continuous development of City of Dreams Manila,” the firm said.
The scheme is a partnership between Melco Crown and Philippine-based Premium Leisure and Amusement Inc, a unit of Premium Leisure Corp, controlled by the family of Philippine billionaire Henry Sy.
The increase in pre-opening costs was mainly attributable to increase in staff costs by PHP1.3 billion, “which was in line with the increase in headcount,” said Melco Crown Philippines.
The company is expected to increase its manpower by a further 16 percent at the end of the year, to complete its total manpower complement.
The company plans to have a soft opening of the property in December, which Lawrence Ho Yau Lung, co-chairman and chief executive of parent Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd, called a “sneak peak”.
The grand opening is scheduled for before the Chinese New Year in 2015, Mr Ho said on a conference call last week.
“For the sneak peak, we want to run more a full-on stress test simulation, but at the same time pretty much everything will be open,” he told analysts.
“The market in the Philippines continues to grow strongly and we believe that the introduction of City of Dreams Manila will significantly strengthen Manila appeal to locals and international customers,” Mr Ho said.
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"The travel impediments [in mainland China] will lead to reduced visitation into Macau for the next few weeks at least, with Chinese New Year visitation being impacted"
Vitaly Umansky, Tianjiao Yu and Kelsey Zhu
Analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd