In a shuffling of assets to prepare for his next phase of domestic development, Philippine billionaire Enrique Razon, Jr., has sold 3.18 percent of his stake in casino operator Bloomberry Resorts for PHP3.8 billion ($74.7 million).

Enrique Razon, Jr., casino developer in the Philippines

Enrique Razon, Jr., the Philippines’ third-richest person, said this week that the increased liquidity in Bloomberry stock arising from the share sale will be beneficial for the company. He did not outline what he plans to do with the cash raised. (Image: Veejay Villa/Bloomberg)

The Bloomberry chairman’s holding company Prime Metroline Holdings, Inc., announced the sale in a filing to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Tuesday.

With a controlling 65.58 percent stake in the company, Prime Metroline remains the largest shareholder of Bloomberry, which is the owner and operator of the Solaire Resort and Casino, Entertainment City’s first integrated resort.

“I am very confident of the prospects for Bloomberry,” he reassured investors on Tuesday in a press statement. “I believe that the increased liquidity in the stock will be beneficial for investors and the company.”

Charging Up Billionaires List

Prime Metroline did not state in the filing the reason for the sale, although Razon is understood to be contemplating building a new, smaller casino in northern Quezon City, in Metro Manila.

His other main interest, International Container Terminal Services Inc, a global transportation company, is also eyeing expansion.

The Philippine casino sector is thriving, and so, by extension, is Razon.

His stake in Bloomberry helped launch him into the third position on this year’s Forbes list of Filipino billionaires, published several weeks ago. That’s up five spots from a year ago, as his estimated net worth jumped from $3.5 billion to $4.3 billion.  

As Forbes noted, an influx in Chinese tourism, driven by improved relations between the Philippines and Beijing, aided Razon’s leap in fortune.

Since taking power in late 2015, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has pursued a policy of reconciliation between the two governments, which had previously been at loggerheads over disputed territories in the South China Sea.

Solaire’s Record Revenues

In its most recent earnings report, Bloomberry said net income soared by 47 percent to $38.62 million in Q2 2017 alone. Solaire hit an all-time high in slots and electronic gaming revenues, while also yielding record results in both the VIP and mass market table segments of their business.

A Philippines tourism boom, along with Duterte’s promise to invest heavily in infrastructure, has convinced Razon to expand domestically. He recently dropped a bid for a gaming license in Cyprus, and attempted to sell the Jeju Sun Resort in South Korea to junket operator Iao Kun Group, although the deal ultimately fell through.

Quezon City has been chosen as the location for Bloomberry’s planned second Philippine casino, which has an estimated cost of $418 million, because it has the largest population of the 17 jurisdictions that make up metro Manila.