Hong Kong-listed Shin Hwa World says it will continue to look for a suitable plot of land upon which to develop an integrated resort in Manila as it “re-evaluates its strategic plans” amid ongoing challenges to its Korean resort business.
Announcing its FY22 financial results overnight – which saw the company book a narrowed HK$216.9 million (US$27.6 million) loss – Shin Hwa World revealed it has recently been granted an extension by Philippines gaming regulator PAGCOR to its deadline to fulfil documentary requirements in relation to a provisional casino license it was granted back in 2018.
Known as Landing International at the time, the group had been planning development of a US$1.5 billion integrated resort with a two or three storey casino, luxury hotel, indoor waterpark, cultural theme park, movie theme park and convention center.
After signing a land lease with Nayon Pilipino Foundation (NPF) – the government’s culture and tourism arm – Landing held a ground-breaking ceremony on 7 August 2018 but in a bizarre turn of events it was revealed on the very same afternoon that then-President Rodrigo Duterte had fired the entire NPF board, citing what was described as a “grossly disadvantageous” 50-year land lease deal and later revoking the lease entirely.
The company had promised to find a new site for its development but the COVID-19 pandemic put those plans on hold.
In Thursday’s results announcement, Shin Hwa World said it will “continue to explore this issue and to negotiate with PAGCOR for a mutually acceptable solution. The Group will evaluate the feasibility of relevant lease of land and development should opportunities arise.”
In the meantime, Shin Hwa World revealed it has put plans to develop a new hotel at its Korean integrated resort, Jeju Shinhwa World, on hold and will instead focus on its property development business. A new residential development within Jeju Shinhwa World has been inaugurated with construction expected to be commence this year.
“The Board is of the view that the new residential development may better utilize the use of land in Jeju Shinhwa World and it may broaden the income stream of the Group,” it said.
Despite group-wide revenue showing a slight 2.7% increase to HK$1.39 billion in 2022 – mainly via its non-gaming attractions – Shin Hwa World continues to be held back by the performance of its foreigner-only casino, Landing Casino.
In FY22, net gaming revenue was almost halved year-on-year to HK$46.1 million with segment loss of HK$174.0 million. According to the company, its gaming business remained sluggish due to the impact of COVID-19 plus competition from other casinos in Jeju.