Divestment value of Casino Filipino brand too high says Morgan Stanley

Lea Hogg 1 year ago
Divestment value of Casino Filipino brand too high says Morgan Stanley

Although government controlled casinos in the Philippines have been set up for sale, analysts at top tier investment bank Morgan Stanley say that the asking price is too high to attract the right buyers.

The government is seeking US $1.5 billion for the sale of the state-owned land based casinos.

Casino Filipino

The Philippines owns and operates 41 casinos and satellite gaming venues registered under the ‘Casino Filipino‘ brand. The state-owned chain is operated by the state-owned gambling regulator and operator Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).

Casino Filipino has two main branches in Malate and Santa Cruz, both in the central Manila region. It also has major branches in Angeles City, Bacolod, Cebu City, Davao City, San Nicolas in Ilocos Norte, Iloilo City, Olongapo and Tagaytay. The land based casino at Manila Airport was closed down in 2014.

Divesting gaming operations

During the last few years, the Philippines government has been considering divesting its gaming operations to allow PAGCOR to transition to a role as a regulator only and improve its efficiency. The sale would also provide the state with an immediate and substantial cash injection.

Morgan Stanley gaming analysts Praveen Choudhary, Dan Chee, Jeffrey Mak, and Gareth Leung concluded their report with a consensus that the asking price is far too high. The government of the Philippines indicated that the opportunity to purchase the chain of casinos may become more attractive to buyers once gross gaming revenue is rendered this year. Projections are estimated that GGR will reach PHP 244.8 billion (US $4.5 billion) which is $1.2 billion more than GGR for 2022. The revenue growth is mainly due to the reopening of the land based venues as a result of the lift of lockdown restrictions. In 2019, prior to the start of the pandemic GGR was recorded at US $680 million.

Bloomberry, a Philippines-based gaming operator with the financial means to acquire the state-based casinos was previously viewed as a front-runner for the government divesture. However the operator has not yet made a move or shown much interest and appears to be expanding its own project with new developments in the Philippines that include Solaire North in Quezon City.

Morgan Stanley in Philippines

American multinational investment bank Morgan Stanley announced earlier this year that it will set up an office in Manila. President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr met with Morgan Stanley chairman for Asia-Pacific Gokul Laroia during the 2023 World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland. Communications Secretary to the Presidential office, lawyer Cheloy Garafil, said that Laroia proposed plans for the investment bank to open its offices in the Philippines during his meeting with President Marcos Jr.

Headquartered in New York, the global investment banking giant operates in institutional securities, wealth management and investment management. The proposed presence of Morgan Stanley in the Philippines has been met with enthusiasm by the local business community.


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