Posted on 18 October 2013 5:37 | DOW JONES INSTITUTIONAL NEWS
By Robb M. Stewart
MELBOURNE, Australia--Australian gambling billionaire James Packer's Crown Ltd. (CWN.AU) plans to develop a US$400 million five-star resort on Beira Lake in Colombo, joining a rising tide of luxury developments on the South Asian island.
The company in a regulatory statement Friday said it was in detailed discussions with the Sri Lankan government and potential joint venture partners regarding "Crown Sri Lanka," a proposed resort with 450 rooms as well as restaurants, retail stores, conference facilities and gambling.
"Sri Lanka is a beautiful and unique country with huge tourism potential," Mr. Packer said, adding that the planned resort aimed to "redefine luxury tourism" in the country.
If the project proceeds it would add to a lineup of Crown casinos in key Australian cities and London, as well as in Macau through a joint venture with casino mogul Lawrence Ho.
Sri Lanka's parliament and Board of Investment currently are considering whether to grant investment approval for Crown's project. The Melbourne, Australia-based company said the project also is subject to a final agreement between the potential venture parties and the receipt of other approvals.
The development is expected to employ about 2,500 Sri Lankans, Mr. Packer said.
Crown earlier this year won the backing of Australia's New South Wales state for a resort and casino in Sydney that would compete with The Star, the city's sole casino owned by rival Echo Entertainment Group Ltd. (EGP.AU). Crown weeks earlier sold a 10% stake it had amassed in Echo.
Write to Robb M. Stewart at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
October 17, 2013 20:07 ET (00:07 GMT)