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Melco Crown’s Philippine Unit to Sell Shares for Casino Project

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Feb. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd.’s Philippine unit plans to sell as many as 1 billion new shares to help fund a $1 billion Manila casino venture.

Melco unit Manchester International Holdings Unlimited Corp. shareholders approved the plan at a special meeting today, it said in a stock exchange filing. The sale would raise as much as 15 billion pesos ($369 million) at today’s price. The company will be renamed Melco Crown (Philippines) Resorts Corp., Manchester said.

Melco Crown, a casino venture of billionaire James Packer and a son of gambling tycoon Stanley Ho, in December said it paid 1.26 billion pesos for a 93.1 percent stake in Manchester. It plans to invest about $600 million for a casino, hotel, retail and entertainment complex in the Philippines, which it will build with SM Investments Corp., Belle Corp. and its unit, Melco Crown said in an Oct. 25 filing with the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Belle holds one of four casino licenses the Philippines awarded to compete with Macau and Singapore.

The country’s annual revenue from gaming may rise to $10 billion in 2017 from more than $2 billion last year once the Manila casino complex is operating fully, Philippine Amusement & Gaming Corp. Chairman Cristino Naguiat said on Jan. 15.

Manchester’s Class A shares, reserved for Filipinos, rose 5 percent to 14.8 pesos at the close of trading in Manila. Its Class B shares gained 2.1 percent to 14.8 pesos. The Philippines’ benchmark stock index rose 0.9 percent to 6,620.72.

Shareholders also approved an over-allotment option of as much as 20 percent of the total shares to be sold. Terms of the offer, including the price, size and timing, have yet to be set by the board, Manchester said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Cecilia Yap in Manila at cyap19@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Anjali Cordeiro at acordeiro2@bloomberg.net; Colin Keatinge at ckeatinge@bloomberg.net

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