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Belle channels P4.5-B share sale proceeds to mega-casino project

By Neil Jerome C. Morales (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 9, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The leisure and gaming unit of property and banking conglomerate SM Investments Corp. (SMIC) has channeled the entire proceeds of its P4.5-billion share sale for the construction of a mega-casino complex along Manila Bay.

In a regulatory filing, Belle Corp. said it used the amount to help in the construction of the $1.3-billion Belle Grande Manila integrated casino and resort.

In April, Belle disbursed P3.19 billion of the proceeds from its stock rights offering, with the remaining P1.33 billion allotted for the construction of Belle Grande Manila.

In October 2011, Belle sold 1.5 billion common shares worth P4.5 billion through a rights offering. Shareholders were entitled to buy one new Belle stock for every six shares they own.

In March, the local unit of Macau casino giant Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. formally inked its partnership with Belle for the 6.2-hectare Belle Grande Manila, whose construction started early in 2010.

The casino complex will offer 20,000 square meters of gaming space and 900 hotel rooms. It is located at Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.’s (Pagcor) Entertainment City, the Philippines’ answer to the gaming hubs of Las Vegas, Macau and Singapore.
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Melco co-chairman and CEO Lawrence Ho earlier said the company is banking on its vast gaming network of Asians, particularly Hong Kong and Chinese visitors, that can be diverted to the Philippines.

It will be Melco’s first casino outside Macau where it operates the City of Dreams and Altira Macau casinos. The company is developing its third casino, Studio City, slated for opening in 2015.
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