Summit Ascent eyeing ‘upside exposure’ to Philippines casino market amid uncertainty in Russia

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Hong Kong-listed Summit Ascent Holdings says its Manila casino development will provide a “quick passage” into the lucrative Philippine market amid continued uncertainty over the future of its Russian integrated resort, Tigre de Crystal.

Both Summit Ascent and Suntrust are majority owned by Suncity Group Holdings, which also has a stake in Hoiana in central Vietnam.

While Summit Ascent has traditionally counted Crystal Tiger as its top asset, the company said on Monday that convertible bonds issued by Suntrust “provide the group the flexibility to have upside exposure to the Philippines should Main Hotel Casino succeed, while allowing the Group to earn interest income immediately.

“Even with the COVID-19 pandemic as a backdrop, Manila’s other four integrated resorts in the Philippines generated strong gaming revenue in 2021 according to [PAGCOR].

“When the Main Hotel Casino is completed, it will undoubtedly become the final attraction. The potential for the Group to own part of an integrated resort in a location with a decade of double-digit gaming revenue growth, provides the Group with a fast-track alternative to tap into the pan-Asian gaming market.

Exposure to the Philippine market comes as COVID-19 and Russia’s war on Ukraine create a double headwind for Crystal Tiger, with Summit Ascent having already announced that it will postpone Phase II development work of the property until there is more clarity.

As a result, Summit Ascent said in its annual report that there is “no imminent need for the group to transfer funds to the Russian Federation” to support Phase II, while existing operations will continue to operate. be supported by the contribution of the inhabitants.

“Despite recent geopolitical tensions, economic sanctions against the Russian Federation have no immediate impact on our operations,” the company said.

“While it may be too early to thoroughly assess all possible effects, Crystal Tiger operating in the Russian Far East has been self-sufficient on an entirely local contribution basis. The Group maintains a healthy balance sheet , fully financed with equity without any bank loan.

“The Group is now cautious about the future expansion of Tigre de Cristal as the foreign direct investment environment evolves. TdC Phase II is currently aiming to open no earlier than 2025 and sub-phases will be rolled out gradually in response to the continued negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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