Hong Kong’s International Entertainment Corporation (IEC) says it is still in negotiations with Philippines gaming regulator PAGCOR over the potential development of an integrated resort in Manila.
IEC was issued a provisional casino license in September 2020 for what was originally planned to be an extension and upgrading of facilities at its New Coast Hotel in Manila, but revealed in July 2021 that it instead planned to develop a new integrated resort featuring “two-to-three sky high buildings” and covering 250,000 square meters of total area, with substantial gaming and non-gaming attractions.
Those plans were put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the company announcing overnight that it was still negotiating with PAGCOR over the location and details of the new IR.
“As at the date of this announcement, [IEC subsidiary] Marina Square Properties, Inc and PAGCOR are still negotiating the terms of the draft Provisional License Agreement, including the development scale and timeline of the Integrated Resort,” it said. “The Group has not yet identified suitable land to expand the hotel premises, hence the Provisional License Agreement has yet to be executed.”
IEC added that it would consider different financing methods and a change of capital structure in order to “expand our business and maintain the liquidity of the group” during development of an IR.
The update formed part of IEC’s results announcement for the six months to 31 December 2022, which saw a loss attributable to owners of the company of HK$6.4 million (US$815,000) – narrowed from a HK$136.6 million (US$17.4 million) loss in the same period in 2021.
The improvement was in part due to an increase in gaming revenues at New Coast Hotel, which grew by 278% to HK$59.4 million (US$7.6 million).
IEC said it has higher hopes for the months ahead as the Philippines tourism industry continues its recovery.
“Following the easing of most of the anti-pandemic measures, the gaming industry and tourism industry in the Philippines have shown significant recovery in 2022,” it explained.
“The Philippines government’s supportive policies such as moving public holidays to create long weekends and introduction of a new ‘eTravel’ system to replace the old One Health Pass will further help to boost the tourism. It is hopeful that the Philippines gaming and tourism industries will reach pre-pandemic levels in the near future.”