Melco Crown Philippines (Resorts) Corp is seeking to rebrand, dropping the ‘Crown’ name. The move comes shortly after the December decision of Hong Hong-listed Melco International Development Ltd to take a majority position in Asian casino developer Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd, the parent of Melco Crown Philippines.
In December, Australian casino firm Crown Resorts Ltd said it was further reducing its own stake in Melco Crown Entertainment to 11.2 percent.
A filing on Thursday to the Philippine Stock Exchange said that Melco Crown Philippines – an entity set up by Melco Crown to invest in the operation of the City of Dreams Manila gaming resort (pictured) in the Philippine capital – is seeking to change its name to Melco Resorts and Entertainment (Philippines) Corp. The change of name is subject to regulatory approval, added the filing.
The name change bid follows a decision taken on Wednesday at a special board meeting of the Philippine unit.
A late December filing by Nasdaq-listed Melco Crown to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said it would be announcing “a new corporate entity” following a series of sell-downs by Crown Resorts that saw Melco International – led by Lawrence Ho Yau Lung – assume majority ownership in Melco Crown.
A January note from brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd had suggested the Melco Crown brand “lacks the same recognition as some of its Macau competitors”.
Thursday’s filing by Melco Crown Philippines did not mention whether the Crown Towers Manila name would be retained on a hotel at City of Dreams Manila.
One of the hotels at Melco Crown’s City of Dreams in Macau also currently carries the name Crown Towers.
A Melco Crown filing in late December said Crown Resorts and its subsidiaries have the right to terminate any licence granted under intellectual property agreements – including a trademark licence – if the direct and indirect shareholding of Crown Resorts in Melco Crown falls below 25 percent.
Wednesday’s board meeting of the Melco Crown Philippines unit confirmed three directors – including Todd Nisbet, also described on Crown Resorts’ website as executive vice president for strategy and development at Crown Resorts – would be resigning from Melco Crown Philippines with immediate effect for “personal reasons”. The meeting also decided to reduce the size of the board from nine members to seven.
It had been announced in May last year – at the time Crown Resorts began selling down its interest in Melco Crown – that Mr Nisbet would be giving up his seat on the Melco Crown board, and that James Packer, the major investor in Crown Resorts, would step down as Melco Crown co-chairman. In December Mr Packer relinquished his post as deputy chairman of Melco Crown and left that company’s board.
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"After a challenging period, the Macau market is growing again, and its growth rate has been accelerating for three consecutive quarters. Our Macau operation is experiencing strong growth in both our mass gaming and non-gaming segments"
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