Wakayama prefecture’s chosen partner to develop an integrated resort in Wakayama Marina City, Canadian investment firm Clairvest Group, would hold a 55% stake in the property while casino operator Caesars Entertainment Corp is slated to hold a 5% interest, according to details presented to the prefectural assembly.
The area development proposal, including financial plan, was presented on Monday and reviewed by the IR special committee. It represented the first time any detailed finances around the project have been made public.
According to the plan, operation of the JPY470 billion (US$4.1 billion) IR will be handled by Wakayama IR Co Ltd, an entity currently in the process of being established. Listed members included Clairvest Neem Ventures (Tokyo) and its parent company Clairvest Group, plus Caesars Entertainment.
Caesars was announced in September 2021 as casino operator although the company had said there would be no economic investment required. The current breakdown instead has Caesars as a 5% investor alongside 55% by Clairvest and 40% by other investors. The initial investment by stakeholders is said to be of JPY 145 billion (US$1.3 billion), with the rest to be covered by debt, suggesting an investment of around JPY 80 billion (US$715 million) by Clairvest and JPY7.25 billion (US$63 million) by Caesars.
Pending national government approval, the goal is to open the integrated resort in the autumn of 2027, Wakayama said.
According to the description by the prefecture, of the JPY 470 billion investment, the main three operators will invest an initial JPY 87 billion (US$753 million) combined. It was also disclosed that Japanese companies, including the general contractor Nishimatsu Construction Co., Ltd, are lined up to invest JPY 58 billion (US$502 million). Although there was mention of investment bank Credit Suisse as the main financer for the remaining JPY 325 billion (US$2.8 billion), the breakdown of this was not made public.
The council had previously asked questions about financing and the members of the operation during an extraordinary prefectural assembly of the IR special committee in November, but the prefecture and Clairvest commented that they could not give specific details at that time. In response to this, the consolidated committee opinion was stated as, “There are insufficient details to explain to local residents and [public briefings] shall be postponed at this point in time.”
However, this time the special committee approved opening of the public hearings and public comments that had previously been postponed. Public comments will be accepted for one month from 9 February to 10 March.
As Wakayama prefecture is currently in a state of pre-emergency – currently in place from 5 to 27 February – as a countermeasure against COVID-19, a public hearing is scheduled to be held at the beginning of March.