Resorts World operator sets P9-B capex to fund expansion projects

By Leslie D. Venzon

MANILA, June 13 (PNA) — Travellers International Hotel Group Inc., the developer and operator of Resorts World Manila, has earmarked up to P9 billion for capital expenditures this year to fund expansion projects, confident about the prospects of the Philippine gaming industry.

During the company’s stockholders meeting on Friday, Travellers chairman David Chua Ming Huat said the Philippine gaming market should not be compared with that of Macau as each country has its own characteristics.

“You walk into Macau, you fly to Manila,” he said. “(But) the Philippines has the best track record in hospitality services.”

Chua believes that the completion of new airports in the country will open up the gaming market to bigger audience.

He said competitors also augur well for helping boost the market, noting “you can never be a destination if you are alone.”

For his part, Travellers president Kingson Sian said the construction of Phases 2 and 3 are in full swing.

He said Phase 2 involves the expansion of the existing Marriott Hotel Manila with the grand ballroom as well as the additional 227 rooms through the Marriott West Wing.

Sian said the grand ballroom is expected to be fully operational by the first quarter of 2015 and the Marriott West Wing by the end of next year.

He said Phase 3, meanwhile, will comprise two new hotels –- the Hilton Manila and the Sheraton Hotel Manila, as well as an extension of Maxims Hotel.

“Phase 3 shall also include a new gaming area, additional retail space and six basement parking decks. Completion for the entire project is by 2017,” he added.

Sian said this year’s programmed P9 billion capital expenditures (capex) do not require fund-raising activities.

“We don’t need fund-raising to fund the capex because we still have a lot of debt capacity. In fact, we have USD 250 million unutilized (credit line) and then another P6 billion debt. So can still tap on the debt market,” he told reporters.

Sian said the company already spent around P1.3 billion for these projects. (PNA)