Temasek buys into Melco Crown’s Philippine subsidiary

temasek-logoMelco Crown Philippines Resort Corp., the Philippine arm of Macau’s Melco Crown Entertainment, has sold a five percent stake to Temasek, Singapore-based investment company.

The acquisition, which was disclosed by MCPR to the Philippine Stock Exchange, was done through Temasek Fullerton Alpha Pte Ltd, Swordfish Investments Pte Ltd and Fullerton Fund Management Co Ltd. All three companies are wholly owned subsidiaries that indirectly run under Temasek.

With the deal in place, Singapore took the rather huge yet not all too surprising step of entering the burgeoning Philippine casino market. It’s a shrewd move that should pay off once Belle Grande Manila, the resort Belle Corporation is building at Entertainment City opens its doors next year, becoming the second of the four integrated resort and casinos to open inside the lavish Pagcor project after Solaire Manila.

Earlier this year, the Henry Sy-owned company struck an agreement with Melco Philippines, one that would see the latter take full reigns of operating Belle Grande Manila. Shortly after that deal was made, the Philippine subsidiary of the Macau-based company decided to sell some of its shares to finance the development of Belle Grande Manila Bay. That decision netted the company $377 million, part of which was earmarked towards the development of the resort casino, including payment for gaming equipment purchases, operating costs, and working capital.

Details behind Temasek’s five percent acquisition of MCPR shares were not disclosed, but it does provide a good indication that more and more foreign investors are looking at the merits of having some chips on the table once Entertainment City is fully operational.

The fact that this one comes from Singapore, one of the countries that the Philippines is expected to compete with as far as casino revenues are concerned, only adds to the growing clout of the country’s growing profile in the Asian gambling market.