Belle corp. announces expansion plans at city of dreams…

Philippine real estate developer Belle Corp. has once again presented its partner Melco Resorts & Entertainment with a plan for the expansion of City of Dreams Manila.

The two companies operate jointly the integrated resort located in the Philippine capital’s Entertainment City.

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Local news outlet The Philippine Daily Inquirer reports citing Belle executives that the company wants to add more hotel rooms and non-gaming facilities at the existing resort. The renewed push for expansion of the property was revealed Monday during a press chat after a planned shareholder meeting. It was last spring when Belle first pitched plans for adding new facilities at City of Dreams Manila.

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The company’s President, Manuel Gana, said Monday that the resort needs more hotel rooms as it is always running at or close to full capacity, with an average occupancy rate standing at 90%. The company official also pointed out they want to build more non-gaming amenities.

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Mr. Gana went on to say that Belle has presented Melco with its plan it is now up to them to decide whether City of Dreams Manila will be expanded. The official noted that the Hong Kong-headquartered casino giant currently has “a lot of thing on [its] plate”, referring to Melco’s growing interest in competing for a license for the development of an integrated resort in Japan.

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Belle currently owns a one-hectare plot of land near City of Dreams Manila. Mr. Gana said that the resort’s expansion would start at that plot, if Melco nods the plan.

More adjacent plots could be developed as part of the resort at a later stage.
Belle’s President also said that they may develop their plot of land independently from Melco, if the latter rejects their expansion proposal. Mr. Gana said that they would prefer it that Melco gets involved in the plan, though.

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More Gaming Licenses
Belle also confirmed Monday that it is interested in obtaining additional gaming licenses from PAGCOR, the country’s gambling regulator. The company currently operates the casino at City of Dreams Manila and under an agreement with Melco, receives a share of the revenue generated by gaming operations.

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Earlier this year, PAGCOR placed a moratorium on new casino applications. However, a number of casinos currently operated by the regulator are to be privatized, and Belle said that it would be looking to take advantage of the privatization process and assume control over one or more casinos.
The company said that it is interested in expanding both its gaming and non-gaming operations in Metro Manila and in other parts of the country. Belle owns 800 hectares of land in Southern Luzon and said that it could use it to develop new properties in the next five to ten years.

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The company said Monday that its consolidated net profit for the first quarter of the year grew 10% year-on-year to PHP857 million, boosted by improved revenues from gaming operations and real estate.

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