The uncertainty surrounding regional elections and the conclusion of an urban master plan threw a spanner in the pursuit of the license.
Spain.- Lawrence Ho from Melco International Development Ltd. and MelcoLot Ltd. announced last week that the tender process for obtaining a Casino license to operate near Barcelona, is being held up.
The September regional elections for Catalonia did not result in a majority party or ruling coalition, which casts a shadow over previous consultations regarding the casino license. Accordingly, the Catalan government is uncertain whether the urban planning master plan of the recreational centre in Vila-Seca and Salou is complete or not. The regional government proposed the master plan for a public consultation due in December 1st, after which it was supposed to be completed within three months. Applications were to be submitted within a month after the master plan publication and announced on the second quarter of 2016. According to the company, since the tender process is dependent upon the approval of the Urban Planning Master Plan, the suspense surrounding the process could delay the tender.
Melco International filed two bids to build and operate one of the six casinos of the US$6b BCN World resort in Catalonia back in 2014. One of the bids was made through the subsidiary Melco Property Development and the other one through another Melcolot subsidiary in a joint venture with Veremonte Group. The partnership with Veremonte was terminated “due to the lack of basis of further cooperation,” but Melco International continued independently with the bid through Melco Property and agreed with Melcolot to purchase 99 percent of the issued share capital of Melco Property for HK$502.92 million (US$64.82 million.) Melco Property was to be granted the license to run a casino in BCN World as part of the conditions for the agreement. This manoeuvre was described as the “best available platform in the current circumstances for the MelcoLot Group to continue participating in the tender.”