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Casinos Could Lift Singapore Property Stocks

22 December 2004

SINGAPORE – As reported by the Singapore Business Times: "The debate over whether Singapore should play host to a casino has been watched not only by citizens concerned about the likely social implications, but by businesses, too.

"Property groups, and in particular those with exposure to the hospitality sector, have been following developments.

"BT reported last week that government officials recently met up with developers to discuss some of the possibilities should the casino concept materialise, although the details were not divulged.

"But taking one widely-accepted scenario - that any possible casino will be targeted at the region's high-rollers - listed groups that have the most to gain from the project will include City Developments, Singapore Land and Amara Holdings, with the extent of the benefits depending on whether the project is sited on Marina South or Sentosa.

"Already, UBS research is recommending a buy on Singapore Land. It notes that SingLand is well-placed to reap spin-offs should a casino be built at Marina South, mainly because the group owns stakes in nearby Marina Bay properties.

"…A Marina South casino should also help tycoon Kwek Leng Beng decide on plans to turn one of the two towers at his New Downtown joint venture condo, into a service residence.

"…The project's exclusivity and reputation, as in the case of Raffles Holdings' historic Raffles Hotel and SinoLand's Fullerton Hotel, should help it transcend the location factor where high-rollers are concerned, no matter where the casino is sited. Should it be built on Sentosa, however, mainboard listed Amara Holdings could get a rise from its upcoming $60 million, 125-room hotel on the tourist island…"

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