Ghost Month: August 11 - September 6

Leisure & Resorts World Corp.
...monitoring this stock

LRWC subsidiary to obtain P2.5B loan from BDO

A UNIT of Leisure and Resorts World Corp. (LRWC) will be taking out a P2.5-billion loan from BDO Unibank, Inc. to partially finance its planned resort development.

In a disclosure to the stock exchange on Friday, the listed firm said its wholly-owned subsidiary AB Leisure Global, Inc. has executed an omnibus loan and security agreement (OLSA) with the Sy-led bank.

“The OLSA was executed to fund the acquisition of parcels of land for its planned resort development,” the company said in the disclosure.

LRWC did not include further details about the resort project.

Incorporated in 1957, LRWC and its subsidiaries operate internet and gaming enterprises in the Cagayan Special Economic Zone Free Port. It further develops leisure properties in the country.

LRWC profits declined 59% in the first nine month of 2017 to P362 million, following a 10% year-on-year drop in revenues to P7.3 billion.

Galaxy Entertainment plans up to build casino in Boracay

Macau-based casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group Limited plans to invest as much as $500 million to build an integrated casino-resort in the Philippines. Galaxy Entertainment Group Limited and local partner Leisure and Resorts World Corporation (LR) are seeking regulatory approval for the $300-$500 million casino project in the central Philippine island of Boracay, Boracay Island is the Philippines top tourist draw, famous for its powdery white sand beach and vibrant nightlife. The integrated casino could start operating three years after the regulatory approval.
...more details

LRWC in talks for Boracay casino, resort

LEISURE and Resorts World Corp. (LRWC) disclosed on Monday negotiations with a gaming firm based in Macau on a possible partnership for a beach resort and casino in Boracay island.

LRWC said it is in talks with Galaxy Entertainment Group Limited (GEG) for the resort and casino, noting that representatives from the firms, led by GEG Chairman Lui Chee-woo and Vice-Chairman Francis Lui Yiu Tung, paid President Rodrigo R. Duterte a courtesy call to discuss the project last week.

“Galaxy is excited about the possibility of teaming with LRWC to develop a world class beach resort for our players in Boracay which was just rated the number one island in the world in 2017 by Conde Nast Traveller readers,” Mr. Lui Yiu Tung was quoted as saying in a statement.

GEG is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, which has three flagship destinations, namely Cotai, Galaxy Macau, Broadway Macau, and Peninsula StarWorld Macau, according to its Web site. Its international presence comes in the form of a strategic investment in Société Anonyme des Bains de Mer et du Cercle des Etrangers à Monaco, an owner of luxury hotels and resorts in Monaco.

LRWC, meanwhile, operates over a hundred bingo parlors in the country as well as a number of leisure properties held by its subsidiaries. The company dubbed the potential project with GEG as a “game changer” for the resort and tourism industry. 

“We look forward to working with GEG in bringing a world class resort to the island-paradise of Boracay. If the project materializes as envisaged, it’s going to be a game changer in the Philippine resort and tourism landscape,” LRWC Vice-President for Legal and Corporate Secretary Katrina L. Nepomuceno said in a statement. 

The possible partnership comes amid improving relations between China and the Philippines, given the president’s friendlier attitude toward the former.

Mr. Lui Yiu Tung added that GEG, along with its mother company K Wah Group, looks to take part in the One Belt One Road initiative and explore the potential and attractive business opportunities in the country

...eto na

LRWC, China group plan Boracay casino resort

Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. is betting big on the Philippines through a partnership with Leisure and Resorts World Corp. (LRWC), the listed gaming company founded by Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo “Albee” Benitez.

LRWC and Galaxy have teamed up to develop a world-class beach resort and casino on Boracay Island in Panay.

In August, The STAR reported that Galaxy was looking to enter the Philippines through a partnership with LRWC. Sources said Galaxy would infuse $300 to $500 million into the project.

Officials from both companies have confirmed the plan and executives from LRWC and Galaxy paid a courtesy call to President Duterte last week to discuss the project. The team from Galaxy was headed by its chairman Lui Che-woo and vice chairman Francis Lui Yiu Tung.

“Galaxy is excited about the possibility of teaming up with LRWC to develop a world class beach resort for our players in Boracay which was just rated the number one island in the world in 2017 by Conde Nast Traveller readers,” Tung said.

The entry of Galaxy in the country comes on the back of improving relations between the Philippines and China following President Duterte’s visit to Beijing last year.

Tung said that with this improving China-Philippines relations, Galaxy and and its mother company K Wah Group hope to play a role in the One Belt One Road initiative and wish to explore the great potential and attractive business opportunities in the Philippines.

LRWC vice president for legal Katrina Nepomuceno said the company is honored and pleased to be chosen as GEG’s local partner.

“We look forward to working with GEG in bringing a world class resort to the island-paradise of Boracay. If the project materializes as envisaged, it’s going to be a game changer in the Philippine resort and tourism landscape,” she said.

LRWC is a holding firm with interests in property development focusing on leisure business, gaming and recreation.  At present, it owns bingo parlors all over the Philippines and has an existing license agreement with the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority to develop, operate and conduct internet and gaming enterprises and facilities in the Cagayan Special Economic Zone Freeport.

It is also engaged in the hotel and recreation business.

In Macau, Galaxy first opened in 2011 at the Cotai Strip, a 550,000 square meter resort with Las Vegas-style facilities such as the world’s largest sky wave pool, a white sandy beach, and dozens of private villas and cabanas.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. expects gross gaming revenues in the Philippines to expand to P160 billion this year.

Businessman Dennis Uy, founder of Davao-based Phoenix Petroleum and a known Duterte ally, had broken ground for a $300 million integrated casino resort in Cebu, the first of its kind outside Metro Manila.

Ports tycoon Enrique Razon is also expanding his Solaire Resort and Casino in Paranaque to comprise the second phase of the pioneer player at the 100-hectare Entertainment City.

Solaire is also building its second site in Quezon City with an estimated investment of $380 million.

Been buying slowly below P4.70 #Caveat
Trading stocks is never a sure thing. Please do your own homework before pressing the button.

Best to buy near P4.50 if possible for bottom-fishing.

Fundamentally sound. Low P/E and trading below book value.

[Image: jb4n4i.png]
Trading stocks is never a sure thing. Please do your own homework before pressing the button.


Leisure & Resorts World Corp buys land for Boracay resort-casino

MANILA, Philippines – Listed gaming firm Leisure & Resorts World Corporation recently bought a 23-hectare land in Boracay to build an integrated resort and casino.

This is amid the government's plan to "close" the popular island for up to a year to fix its environmental woes.

"[We] acquired approximately 23 hectares of land in Barangay Manoc-Manoc, Boracay Island, Malay, Aklan," Katrina Nepomuceno, corporate secretary of Leisure & Resorts World, told the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) on Monday, March 19.

Leisure & Resorts World said it expects the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) to grant a provisional license to its Chinese partner Galaxy Entertainment Group Limited "before the end of this month."

Upon the issuance of the provisional license, Nepomuceno said Leisure & Resorts World, along with Galaxy Entertainment, would begin constructing the integrated resort and casino.

The planned integrated resort and casino would be worth around $500 million.

It was in December 2017 when the PSE-listed Leisure & Resorts World disclosed its plans to set up such a property in Boracay.

Biggest hotel
Aside from the island's first integrated resort and casino, the construction of a 1,001-room beachfront hotel in Boracay will push through despite the government's planned island shutdown.

Hannah Yulo, chief investment officer of DoubleDragon Properties Corporation, told reporters on the sidelines of a property launch in Taguig City last Wednesday night, March 14, that her group will not delay the construction of the Boracay hotel.

"We're still in the planning and design stages. That takes time – finalizing your plan and securing permits," Yulo said.

The hotel, to be called Hotel 101 Resort-Boracay, is a joint venture project of Hotel of Asia, a subsidiary of DoubleDragon, and Newcoast South Beach Incorporated.

It will be located in Boracay Newcoast, a 150-hectare tourism estate of Global-Estate Resorts Incorporated (GERI), a Megaworld Corporation subsidiary.

For Yulo, the planned shutdown of the island will not dampen the interest of tourists in Boracay – one of the world's best island destinations.

"I think the cleanup is gonna be a win-win for all the developers in the island," Yulo said. "It's a great thing that the government is cleaning up Boracay. In fact, it's very good for us because when it reopens we're gonna come back with a stronger and world-class island."

Around 6.62 million foreign tourists visited the Philippines in 2017, about 11% higher from the 5.97 million arrivals in 2016.

South Korea remained the country's top source market, eating up almost a quarter of the total tourist arrivals. Boracay and Cebu remained the top destinations for Koreans in 2017, according to the Department of Tourism.


Leisure & Resorts World stocks plunge over Boracay casino uncertainty
Stockholders of the local partner of Galaxy Entertainment Group panic as uncertainty looms over the company's plan to build a casino in Boracay

MANILA, Philippines – Share prices of listed Leisure & Resorts World Corporation dipped by 10.08% on Tuesday, April 10 – the lowest since August 2015 – as investors panicked over President Rodrigo Duterte's plan to convert Boracay into a "land reform area" after the 6-month rehabilitation period.

Leisure & Resorts World, the local partner of Macau casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group, lost 60 centavos or 10.08% on Tuesday, ending at P5.35 each.

Harry Liu, president of brokerage firm Summit Securities Incorporated, said in a phone interview that the investing public was concerned over Duterte's recent pronouncement. But he said Leisure & Resorts World stocks will likely bounce back unless the President pushes through with the supposed land reform.

"Any market [will] always react [to] something that is negative – even if it is not certain or executory yet. I think the public just panicked by what the President wants to happen. But there is no order yet on what the President really wants to happen. So unless there is an order that he will indeed convert [Boracay] into a land reform area, then stocks of [Leisure & Resorts World] will likely bounce back," Liu told Rappler.

The dip in stocks comes after Duterte denied on Monday, April 9, that there is a plan to build a casino in Boracay.

"I never said about building anything or even a nipa hut there. What I said is that the island itself is owned by the government. I've said before that it is agricultural and forestal," the President said in a press conference on Monday.

But in December 2017, Galaxy Entertainment chairman and founder Lui Che Woo paid a courtesy call on Duterte to discuss his firm's plan of investing as much as $500 million for a "low-rise, eco-friendly resort development" in Boracay.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) on March 20 granted Boracay Philippines Resort and Leisure Corporation – the local operating unit of Galaxy Entertainment – a provisional gaming license, allowing it to set up and operate a casino in Boracay.

Pagcor Chairperson Andrea Domingo said in a statement on March 26 that Galaxy Entertainment and Leisure & Resorts World secured a Letter of No Object from the local government, which is one of the requirements for a provisional license.

Galaxy Entertainment and Leisure & Resorts World will still have to comply with all the environmental regulations in connection with the construction of its integrated resort and casino. (READ: LIST: Planned developments in Boracay)

"This integrated resort and casino project will be built on the part of Boracay where there are no buildings yet; not on the very congested part of the island. What we granted was just a provisional license," Domingo said.

The low-rise casino and resort development will feature "private deluxe hotel rooms and villas, a wellness center, bars and lounges, fine dining restaurants, and casino gaming area set in a lush tropical surrounding," Galaxy Entertainment's separate statement reads.

Even before the group bagged the gaming license, Leisure & Resorts World already bought a 23-hectare land in Barangay Manoc-Manoc, Boracay as the location for the planned resort and casino.

The provisional gaming license jumpstarts the process of securing all necessary permits and clearances before the group starts the construction, which is seen in the next 12 months.

The casino project has raised concerns among stakeholders, who are questioning the intention of the 6-month closure order. Jose Clemente III, president of the Tourism Congress of the Philippines, said the government should identify the carrying capacity of Boracay first before it allows developers to put up more businesses.

Based on the casino project's timetable, construction would take at least 3 years with operations expected to begin soon after, or as early as 2021, Leisure & Resorts World corporate secretary Katrina Nepomuceno had said.


Galaxy Entertainment's PH partner denies Boracay casino scrapped
(UPDATED) Contrary to the statement of the Department of Tourism, Leisure & Resorts World Corporation says it has not abandoned its Boracay project with Galaxy Entertainment

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The local partner of Chinese casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group denied that they have abandoned plans to build an integrated casino and resort in Boracay.

Leisure & Resorts World Corporation on Tuesday night, April 17, said it continues to be in talks with Galaxy Entertainment.

This is in response to the pronouncement made by Tourism Assistant Secretary Frederick Alegre that Boracay Philippines Resort and Leisure Corporation (BPRLC) – the joint venture of Galaxy Entertainment and Leisure & Resorts World – is now looking for another venue for its planned $500-million, 23-hectare integrated resort and casino.

BPRLC on March 21 bagged a provisional gaming license from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) – just a few days before President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the 6-month closure of the island starting April 26.

"Both parties have not reached any final decision regarding its planned Boracay resort project. Following protocol, no change in plans or project location would be made without prior consultation and agreement with Pagcor," Leisure & Resorts World said in a statement.

"Contrary to claims that Galaxy has abandoned its planned Boracay project, no such announcement has been made nor communicated with Pagcor," the listed firm added.

This comes a week after Malacañang said, "no casinos in Boracay, period."

On August 3, 2017, AB Leisure Global Incorporated, a subsidiary of Leisure & Resorts World, formally applied for a license to operate a casino in Boracay.

It was in December 2017 when Galaxy Entertainment chairman and founder Lui Che Woo paid a courtesy call on Duterte to discuss his firm's plan of investing as much as $500 million for a "low-rise, eco-friendly resort development" in Boracay.

A deed of assignment between AB Leisure Global and BPRLC was then signed last January 9.

On January 13, Pagcor stopped accepting and evaluating applications, after Duterte imposed a moratorium on new casinos.

Months after, Leisure & Resorts World bought a 23-hectare land in Boracay for the casino-resort.

Pagcor noted that after bagging a provisional gaming license, BPRLC must then secure a Notice to Commence Casino Operations and eventually, a regular casino gaming license, to push through with the Boracay project.

Once the project pushes through, Galaxy Entertainment Group had said it will be in charge of the casino-resort's development and operations. 


...let's see what the future holds for LR

LRWC’s Boracay resort on track for 2021 opening

LEISURE & RESORTS World Corp. (LRWC) said it remains on track to open its $550-million integrated resort in Boracay by 2021, denying that the project has been delayed due to the island’s six-month closure since April.

LRWC Vice-President and Compliance Officer Katrina L. Nepumoceno explained that the timeline for the project construction remains, given that the company has already secured the property in November 2017, long before the island was closed for rehabilitation three months ago.

“We were able to finish what we needed to do prior to closing. The focus now is to participate in all stakeholders’ forum, the Boracay Task Force, so we can listen in to the plans, and make sure that our plans will be compliant with all environmental requirements,” Ms. Nepumoceno told reporters after the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting in Pasay City last Friday.

Once construction starts, it will take two years to finish the project, she said.

The 23-hectare project has drawn flak over the previous months for its inclusion of a casino. The company is partnering with Macau-based casino giant Galaxy Entertainment Group for the casino component, which it clarified will only cover a total of 7.5% of the project’s total floor area.

Despite opposition from President Rodrigo R. Duterte himself on building a casino on one of the country’s top tourist destinations, Galaxy Entertainment said it had already been issued a provisional license by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.

Ms. Nepumoceno said she was confident that the project will push through, given that the “president has also said that he wants to maintain Boracay as a primary tourist destination.”

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has set the official reopening of Boracay island for Oct. 26, noting that a soft opening could be held in September so long as vital requirements — including the improvement of water quality in the island and its surrounding areas — have been addressed.

On the other hand, LRWC said it is investing P200 million to expand its operations this year, citing the improving environment for gaming in the country.

For its electronic Bingo (e-Bingo) operations, LRWC President Eng Hun Chuah said the plan is to expand 30 out of its 145 existing outlets to fast-track its growth, while also constructing 10 new outlets.

“We’re gonna expand our existing outlets, say we have 100 square meters, we’ll expand that to 200 (sq.m.). We have 145 e-Bingo outlets . . . This strategy will help us to expand faster,” Mr. Chuah said, noting that building an outlet from scratch usually takes one to one and a half years. In contrast, expanding their existing one will take four to five months.

The listed firm is also actively on the lookout for more slot machine outlets.

“We have actively been looking for places we can acquire . . . we’re looking for acquisitions of existing operations. We’re talking to some people,” Mr. Chuah said.

Asked on how big the market for slot machine operators is, he said he was counting around 19 to 20 players in Metro Manila.

LRWC’s net profit fell by 70% in the first quarter of 2018 to P82.42 million, with gross revenues also slowing down by 2% to P3.86 billion. 


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