European casino operator Groupe Barrière expects an investment level of around US$2.5 billion in the regional Japanese integrated resort it hopes to develop, but says it has no issue with accepting a minority stake.
Speaking at a press event at Conrad Tokyo on Friday, Groupe Barrière Casino Development Director Jonathan Strock revealed the company – which is targeting an IR in Wakayama – was looking to partner with multiple local partners of which the majority would be based in Wakayama prefecture.
“What we believe firmly is that this is a Japanese resort to promote Japanese culture and increase tourism to Japan. As a result of that, we believe the economic benefits should mainly stay in Japan which is a way of saying that we are quite happy to not have a majority shareholding in the consortium,” he explained.
Asked to elaborate, Strock said that local partners would ideally bring construction, cultural or MICE expertise to the table.
“Financial partners are good to have but we prefer companies that can bring something more – construction companies, real estate companies, companies that know entertainment,” he said. “We know hotels, bars, restaurants and gambling activities but we want companies that can bring us expertise in MICE and leisure. We also want as many companies to come from the Wakayama area as possible.”
A minority interest would keep the expense sheet of Group Barrière, whose current Asian operations are primarily focused on hotel development in China, relatively low.
“Most of the projections we’ve been looking at come to a figure of around US$2.5 billion but of course it moves whenever we add on spaces or take them off,” Strock said.