MANILA, Philippines - Henry Sy's Belle Corp. on Thursday formally signed a deal with Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd., led Australian billionaire James Packer and Macau gambling tycoon Lawrence Ho, to jointly develop a $1-billion casino resort in Manila.
Belle, whose parent company is SM Investments, and its wholly-owned subsidiary PremiumLeisure and Amusement entered into a cooperation agreement with the Hong Kong-listed Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd (MCE).
The agreement covers the joint development and operation of an integrated resort complex in Belle's property along Diosdado Macapagal Avenue, of Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.'s (Pagcor) Entertainment City in Paranaque.
Under the deal, Belle and MCE are co-licensees. Belle is the owner of the site's land and buildings, while MCE is the operator of all the facilities within the resort complex.
Both companies are expected to make equal investment contributions in the project.
"We are very happy to welcome MCE into the Philippines. We could not have found a better partner for this endeavor. We are confident MCE will bring its expertise in operating a highly successful integrated resort complex and strongly contribute to promoting the Philippines as one of Asia's premiere tourism destinations," Belle vice chairman Willy Ocier said, in a statement.
Melco Crown is the owner and operator of the resort complex in Macau known as “City of Dreams." Lawrence Ho is the son of Macau gaming mogul Stanley Ho.
Belle holds one of four licenses handed out by Pagcor to build a casino worth at least $1 billion each at the Entertainment City in Manila Bay, Parañaque.