WELLINGTON, Feb 1 (Reuters) - New Zealand casino operator SkyCity Entertainment Group declined to say whether it would enter the growing gaming market in the Philippines after a local media report said it was considering launching an NZ$200 million venture in Manila this year.
The top-5 company, which operates casinos in New Zealand and Australia, on Friday tempered speculation of an imminent entry into what would be its first Southeast Asian market.
“Whilst we have visited the Philippines and consider the market to be attractive, there is nothing that requires disclosure to our shareholders,” Chief Executive Nigel Morrison said in a statement.
The New Zealand Herald newspaper on Friday said SkyCity was mulling a venture in Manila and that it could act this year. It did not provide further details.
SkyCity operates casinos in New Zealand and Australia, and in December said it would spend more than A$300 million ($312.92 million) to upgrade its casino in Adelaide, Australia.
At home, it has proposed building a convention centre in Auckland for around NZ$350 million, but in return wants the government to extend the life of its operating licence, increase the permitted number of gambling machines and change some of the sector’s rules.
The company is scheduled to announce its financial results for the first half of the year on Feb. 13.
It shares closed at NZ$3.97 on Thursday, near a nine-month high of NZ$4.030 hit last week. ($1 = 1.1900 New Zealand dollars) ($1 = 0.9587 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu; Editing by Dan Grebler)