THE M3: MPEL/MANILA; UNEMPLOYMENT

The Macau Metro Monitor, June 27, 2012

MELCO CROWN SET TO PARTNER IN MANILA CASINO WSJ

Belle Vice Chairman Willie Ocier said the company is in talks to have MPEL to operate the casino portion of its $1 billion resort project but declined to provide further specifics.  Although nothing is finalized, a decision could come as early as today.  

Though Belle, a property developer, owns the casino license, it lacks gambling experience, so it signed an agreement to outsource the casino management to Philippine bingo operator, Leisure & Resorts World.  The two companies were to evenly split the resort's EBITDA, said a source.  The new deal may see MPEL take over Leisure & Resorts' 50% share of the resort's revenue, the source said.  Leisure & Resorts will still likely remain involved in the project in some capacity, however.

Belle has one of four licenses to build casinos in the Manila Bay area.  It is controlled by the country's richest man, Henry Sy.  The other licensees are Bloomberry Resorts Corp, who is set to open a $1.2 billion casino-resort in early 2013, Resorts World Manila, and Universal Entertainment Corp, a pachinko company run by Kazuo Okada.

EMPLOYMENT SURVEY FOR MARCH-MAY 2012 DSEC

Macau unemployment rate remained unchanged at 2.0%.  Total labour force decreased slightly by 1,000 from the previous period to 344,000; the labour force participation rate stood at 71.9%, down by 0.5% points.