MJC earmaking P15B for property development

Philippine Star

May 31, 2011

3 leisure-oriented ventures

By. Doris C. Dumlao

MANILA JOCKEY Club is investing about P15 billion in three leisure-oriented township projects in Manila, Cavite and Mindoro in the next 10 years.

Although the move will change the company’s business mix in favor of property development, horse racing and gaming are seen to remain a substantial component of MJC’s business, given an upcoming partnership with GMA New Media to develop Internet and SMS-based betting on horse racing, company executive vice president Alfonso Reyno III said in a briefing.

GMA New Media is a unit of local broadcasting giant GMA Network Inc. MJC’s Internet and text-based betting platform, which could be expanded to cover other sports events, could help improve public interest in horse racing.

“The potential is limitless”, Reyno said after the listing on the Philippine Stock Exchange of new shares sold by MJC through a stock rights offering. This venture with GMA will be the platform to expand the geographic reach of MJC’s gaming operations, he said.

The P15-billion investment has been earmarked for three town-ship projects: The 77-hectare gaming and leisure hub in Carmona, Cavite, which is touted as the first “racino” (racetrack with casino) in the region; the 16 -ha. San Lazaro Tourism and Business park in Sta. Cruz, Manila, where a new hotel-casino facility will rise; and a 230-ha resort and leisure estate project in Mamburao, Mindoro, which will include a retirement village.

Reyno said the company was still studying options for funding these projects, which would likely be a combination of debt and equity. MJC, whose business mix is currently split evenly between horse racing/gaming and property development, has so far invested P2 billion in putting up all weather racetracks, a stabling complex and a four-story Turf Club and a casino on its Carmona, Cavite property.

The racing facility, called San Lazaro Leisure and Business Park, operates every other week, alternating with the operations of Philippine Racing Club Inc. Another P3 billion to P3.5 billion will be invested within the next 10 years in putting up other facilities, including a 200-room resort hotel and spa and a sports club with two soccer fields, a wake board area, Olympic-size competition pool and baseball diamond field. There will also be a five-cluster residential condominium with a view of the racetrack catering to the upscale market, Reyno said.

The residential component of the Cavite property has started with the 18-hectare residential subdivision Canyon Ranch developed in partnership with Century Properties. All 792 houses in the project had been completed and sold.

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