Razon's Bloomberry to acquire casino, island in South Korea

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 17 2015 11:23 AM | Updated as of Mar 18 2015 02:25 AM

Officers of Bloomberry Resorts Corp. paid a courtesy visit to the governor of Jeju Special Self-Governing Province Island in Korea. (L-R): Jose Eduardo Alarilla, BRC director; Enrique K. Razon Jr., BRC chairman and CEO; Governor Won Hee-ryong; and Donato Almeda, BRC director.

MANILA -- Bloomberry Resorts Corp, owned by the Philippines' third richest man Enrique Razon, said on Tuesday it would buy an island and a casino operator in South Korea, deals aimed at expanding outside its Philippines home base.

Bloomberry said its subsidiary Solaire Korea Co Ltd signed an agreement to acquire up to 92 percent of Golden & Luxury Co Ltd, which owns and operates T.H.E. Hotel & Vegas Casino in Jeju Island in South Korea.

"We are excited at the prospect of Solaire setting up a base in Korea and of introducing the Solaire brand of integrated resorts to the country. This is our first venture outside of the Philippines, and the possibilities for expansion in this country are promising," Razon, BRC chairman and chief executive officer, said.

Razon is the third richest in the Philippines and ranked 291 on Forbes' list of billionaires. His wealth, estimated at $5.1 billion.

Jeju Island is a popular a vacation spot not just for Koreans, but also for Chinese and Japanese. It has attracted 2.3 million foreign tourists last year, including 1.8 million from China.

Jeju expects 5.6 million tourists from China this year alone.

Bloomberry also signed a deal to buy the 20.96 hectares (51.79 acres) Silmi Island covered by the Incheon Free Economic Zone.

Silmi Island is adjacent to Muui Island. In January, Bloomberry signed four real estate sales agreements with several landowners to purchase land with an aggregate area of 12.2 hectares in Muui Island.

Both transactions are still subject to several government regulations and the completion of certain conditions.

"Solaire is on a trajectory of growth and we are now slightly shifting our focus to other destinations. Although this will happen in the next few years, it is good business to start prospecting, and Korea is a likely choice because of its positive investment climate," Razon said.

Both islands are located in the Greater Incheon area and within the coverage of the Incheon Free Economic Zone.

The two island properties will be acquired by BRC’s wholly owned Korean subsidiary, Solaire Korea Co. Ltd.

Silmi Island is in the Yellow Sea in the west coast of South Korea. It is 20 km from Incheon City and is about 5 km away from Incheon International Airport.

Muui Island is located in Jung-gu, Incheon not far from the mainland and accessible by ferry.

No value for the deals was given.

Bloomberry Resorts Corporation is the owner and operator of the Solaire Resort & Casino in PAGCOR’s Entertainment City. - With Reuters