MANILA, Jan 24 (Reuters) - The Philippine corporate regulator approved PH Resorts Group Holdings Inc’s share offering to raise up to 18.5 billion pesos ($349.7 million) to fund the integrated casino builder’s projects outside the capital, Manila.
The Philippines is one of Asia’s fastest-growing gambling markets, benefiting from the influx of foreign high rollers and restrictive gaming policies in neighbouring countries.
The Securities and Exchange Commission said in a notice issued on Thursday it has given PH Resorts the green light to sell as much as 2.05 billion shares at a maximum price of 9 pesos apiece.
The final offer price, which is usually lower than the maximum price indicated in Philippine companies’ registration papers, will be determined after marketing, including the bookbuilding process and roadshows.
Proceeds from the share sale will fund the construction of a $200-million integrated casino-resort in a former U.S. military base north of the capital, and a $300-million megacasino in central Philippines, the company said in a regulatory filing.
The two projects are the first large-scale casinos to be put up outside the Philippine capital, which hosts a smaller version of the Las Vegas gaming strip.
PH Resorts, owned by local businessman Dennis Uy who helped fund President Rodrigo Duterte’s 2016 election campaign, went public last year by acquiring a listed entity.
The two casinos, scheduled to be opened in 2022, will add 246 tables and nearly 1,800 electronic gaming machines to the gambling industry.
To date, there are nine private casino firms in the country operating 1,580 gaming tables and 9,895 electronic gaming machines, according to government data.
Gross gaming revenue of the Philippine casino industry is expected to hit a record high of $4.1 billion this year, up 8.5 percent from a year earlier, driven by foreign high rollers.
$1 = 52.8750 Philippine pesos Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Rashmi Aich