Estoril-Sol waits on expansion to Africa and America, chairman says

17 April 2006

Lisbon, Portugal, 17 April – Portuguese company Estoril-Sol is planning to hold back on its internationalization process, which has Africa and America as target markets, despite having “invitations and opportunities” to move ahead now, the company’s chairman Mário Assis Ferreira told Macauhub.

Assis Ferreira, chairman of the company that manages Stanley Ho’s casinos in Portugal, said that Estoril-Sol’s financial capacities had been “sacrificed” with the 110 million-euro investment made in the new Lisbon Casino, which is due to open Wednesday, and that only “from the point when it generates cash flow” will the company go ahead with foreign investments.

“Estoril-Sol has the know how and prestige that means whoever wants to build a casino in Africa or America comes to us,” Assis Ferreira told Macauhub in an interview.

Although there are “many opportunities and invitations,” he said, the priority was to “have a healthy, secure and consistent financial structure,” which allowed for “a careful and meticulous internationalization policy.”

If investments in Angola or Mozambique are confirmed, Assis Ferreira said that they would always have to go through Geocapital, a company created by Stanley Ho to promote investment in Portuguese-speaking countries.

“If it finds opportunities within the scope of its business, Geocapital will consult us and we will give our point of view and contribution,” he told Macauhub.

For now, Assis Ferreira declined to say when Estoril-Sol would cover financially from the Lisbon Casino investment, saying only that this would “depend on the number fo visitors,” to the casino in the Portuguese capital.

The new Lisbon Casino is expected to generate revenue of 70 million euros in its first eight months of business, of which around 20 million will be “redirected” from the Estoril Casino, located on the outskirts of the capital, Assis Ferreira said.

This year, the Estoril Casino is expected to post turnover of around 105 million euros, some 20 percent below the figure posted the previous year, but even so the group’s turnover is expected to increase, he said.(macauhub)

MACAUHUB FRENCH