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FINANCIAL CHRONICLE™ » DAILY CHRONICLE™ » 36-storey ‘Crown Colombo’ casino from Packer conglomerate

36-storey ‘Crown Colombo’ casino from Packer conglomerate

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CSE.SAS

CSE.SAS
Global Moderator
Casino kingpin and billionaire James Packer is in town again for a second time, to firm up what would be Sri Lanka’s single largest gaming venture along with a resort in Fort.

James Packer, whose father is the infamous media mogul Kerry Packer, was in town in mid-February as part of initial talks with officials.

At that time he met with Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa as well as Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera.

Though the Daily FT broke the news in its 19 February issue, the development was kept under wraps. However, subsequently Investment Promotion Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena confirmed the visit by Packer Jr.

Opportunities being explored include a $ 350 million gaming venture down D.R. Wijewardena Mawatha, which the Government is keen to develop as an entertainment centre. It will be an integrated resort with a mega hotel. Packer’s venture Melco Crown recently clinched a deal to set up the first gaming venture in the Philippines (see boxed story).

His local business partner is gaming industry specialist and influential Ravi Wijeratne.

Rated as the third richest Australia by Forbes magazine with an estimated wealth of $ 6 billion, Packer Jr. inherited control of the family company, Consolidated Press Holdings Limited, which controls investments in Crown Limited, Consolidated Media Holdings and other companies.

Early this month, the main Opposition United National Party (UNP) MP and economist Dr. Harsha de Silva told media that the Government’s hurried plans to amend 21 acts, including the Betting and Gaming Act, apparently facilitated the James Packer deal.

De Silva also questioned as to why casinos had been included in the Strategic Development Act, which is only meant for projects that promote social and economic welfare for the entire population. Given the moral risks, he even called on the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) to pay attention to such steps taken by the Government.

“These special projects are supposed to significantly enhance the social and economic benefits of this country and what is being done with this legislation is to invite casinos and gaming operators into Sri Lanka under the Strategic Development Act. So what happens under this Act is that these people are given enormous tax benefits, some going as much as 25 years of tax exemptions. I must also say that out of the nine casinos operating in Colombo, only five are registered, as was revealed at the Consultative Committee Chaired by the Commissioner General of Inland Revenue. So is this the equitable tax distribution of this country, when you charge Rs. 85 for a tin of canned fish, when you charge Rs. 28 on a Rs. 100 reload for a phone? Why don’t they register the large casinos in the city?”

Dr. de Silva charged that it was unfair to give massive tax exemptions to lucrative businesses but tax every item essential for the poor.
http://www.ft.lk/2013/03/28/casino-kingpin-kerry-packer-jr-in-town-again/


Box story

Melco Crown to raise $ 400 m via shares for Manila casino


Melco Crown (Philippines) Resorts Corp, the Philippines unit of Macau’s Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd., plans to raise up to US$ 400 million (MOP 3.2 billion) from a fresh equity offering to fund part of the operator’s investment in its Manila casino.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, Melco Crown said it planned to raise funds from the sale of up to a billion common shares of the company with an option to upsize by up to 20%.

Melco Crown Entertainment finalised its partnership with Belle Corp for a gaming complex at Manila Bay last week. This will be Melco Crown’s first venture outside of Macau. The company will be in charge of operating the casino resort.

Willy Ocier, Vice Chairman of Belle Corp., said the facility would be operating by “probably June or July, mid-2014,” UPI news agency reported, quoting the Philippine Star newspaper.
The report also described the scheme as costing US$ 1.3 billion, instead of the previously reported US$ 1 billion.
Melco Crown Entertainment this week also announced the appointment of industry veteran Kevin Sim as Chief Operating Officer of its subsidiary, Melco Crown (Philippines) Resorts Corporation, a company listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange. Sim will oversee the operations of the company’s integrated resort development in Entertainment City, Manila.

Sim will join Melco Crown Philippines on 29 April 2013, following his departure from Genting Malaysia Berhad, where he serves as the Executive Vice President for Genting Highlands Resort, in charge of all aspects of operations including the casino, hotels and various other operating divisions.

Prior to this role, he was Senior Vice President of Casino Operations, Vice President of Slots, and Vice President of Finance. Sim was also instrumental in starting the Business Intelligence Unit where data mining is used extensively to drive Genting’s various customer relationship management initiatives.

Lawrence Ho, Co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Melco Crown Entertainment, commented: “Our integrated resort development in Manila marks the company’s first development opportunity outside of Macau, and we look forward to delivering not only a world-class gaming experience to the Philippines, but also bringing our unique brand of leisure and entertainment to a new and exciting market.”

Melco Crown Entertainment is currently developing an integrated resort in Entertainment City, Manila which, upon completion by mid-2014, will include mass market and VIP gaming facilities, five-star luxury hotels and specialty restaurants and bars.

The resort will also include other notable amenities including Manila’s first branded family entertainment centre, a live performance central lounge inside the casino and a night club in the Fortune Egg, an architecturally-unique attraction which is expected to become an iconic landmark in the Manila Bay area.
http://www.ft.lk/2013/03/28/melco-crown-to-raise-400-m-via-shares-for-manila-casino/

236-storey ‘Crown Colombo’ casino from Packer conglomerate Empty Packer ponders bet on move into Sri Lanka Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:40 am

sriranga

sriranga
Co-Admin
April 22, 2013
Colin Kruger

Sydney Harbour development Barangaroo is not the only casino project on James Packer's radar. The billionaire has notched up three trips to Sri Lanka in the space of six weeks signalling his interest in the island nation, which is positioning itself as a gambling hub for its larger neighbour, India.

A Crown spokesman declined to comment about potential investments in Sri Lanka but there is no denying Mr Packer's growing interest in the country. He has visited Sri Lanka three times since late February, discussing investment options with ministers.

''They have not finalised the area and the amount they are going to invest. The government has asked them to come up with a proposal,'' Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, Sri Lanka's Minister of Investment Promotion, said after Mr Packer's latest visit this month. ''The government proposed [for] them to invest in a large city hotel in Colombo and go to [the eastern city of] Trincomalee to look into possible investment opportunities.''

Treasury Secretary P. B. Jayasundera said Mr Packer had expressed an interest in ''integrated tourism'', which typically includes hotels, casinos and other entertainment.

Crown sources have denied reports from Sri Lanka that the Packer-controlled casino group has already acquired land in Colombo to build a casino resort.

According to local reports, Crown agreed to spend $US350 million to build Crown Colombo, which will be open for business in 2016.

The country, which is still recovering from a devastating civil war, has set up legalised gambling zones and introduced tax concessions to attract foreign investors.

Crown is not the only casino group showing interest. Sheldon Adelson's Las Vegas Sands is reportedly exploring investment options in Sri Lanka after being rebuffed by India.

And MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment have also been in talks with Indian group Delta Corp, which owns a casino in Colombo and several more in India.

India's gambling market is limited to two states, Goa and Sikkim, and laws prevent direct foreign investment. As with China's gambling enclave, Macau, it is India's resistance to gambling on the subcontinent that is expected to allow Sri Lanka - just a four-hour flight from India's major cities - to thrive as a gambling hub.

If Mr Packer decides to invest in Sri Lanka, it is not clear whether this would be conducted through Crown directly or via its Asian joint venture, Melco Crown Entertainment, which operates in Macau and the Philippines.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/business/packer-ponders-bet-on-move-into-sri-lanka-20130421-2i8ae.html#ixzz2RALWvpHp

http://sharemarket-srilanka.blogspot.co.uk/

UKboy

UKboy
Senior Vice President - Equity Analytics
Senior Vice President - Equity Analytics
Treasury Secretary P. B. Jayasundera said Mr Packer had expressed an interest in ''integrated tourism'', which typically includes hotels, casinos and other entertainment.

Hmmm. Just wonder what things are missing in this "other entertainment" segment. tongue

sriranga

sriranga
Co-Admin
Australian Casino kingpin and billionaire James Packer has won the green light from the Sri Lankan government to build a 36-storeyed casino complex and super luxury resort coupled with a mega hotel in a 500 perch prime block of land at D.R. Wijeyawardene Mawatha in Fort, informed sources said.

The blue print to commence the ‘Crown Colombo’ casino club opposite Lake House where a car park is being maintained at present has been approved by the authorities following Mr. Packer�s recent visit to the island, these sources revealed.

The 45-year old businessman is the son of Kerry Packer who had extensive media holdings but is best known locally for creating the pyjama-type World Cup cricket series in 1977 that transformed cricket.

The ministries of Finance and Economic Development have given the nod to Mr. Packer to start Sri Lanka’s single largest gaming venture following talks with Minister Basil Rajapaksa and Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera, a senior government official who wished to be anonymous told the Business Times. The $350 million venture will open in 2016. The Australian’s local business partner is gaming industry stalwart and influential Ravi Wijeratne, who has high political backing.

Somewhere in 2007 the government approved the release of the same land for a 4-5 storey car park on an unsolicited proposal brought by Mr. Wijeratne at that time. That was not pursued because the authorities, later, received approval to develop the area along D.R. Wijewardena Mawatha for tourism related activities, in line with the ongoing Colombo City Development Programme.

Mr. Packer Jr. inherited control of the family’s media assets but moved away from the media business and focused on creating a worldwide gambling empire.

He is also creating a group of casino complexes in Great Britain.The Packer entry has drawn criticism from opposition parties, particularly the JVP, over the morality of promoting gambling as an investment.
http://www.sundaytimes.lk/130428/business-times/36-storey-crown-colombo-casino-from-packer-conglomerate-41976.html

http://sharemarket-srilanka.blogspot.co.uk/

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