Friday, June 26, 2009

RWS structural works ending

RESORTS World at Sentosa (RWS) will complete all structural buildings by next month – 27 months after it broke ground in April, 2007.

Michael Chin, RWS executive vice-president, said yesterday that the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has approved the company’s request to increase the quota of foreign workers on site.

MOM is also understood to have approved an increase in the foreign worker quota at Marina Bay Sands (MBS) resort.

Mr Chin said that there are about 6,500 workers on the RWS site and this will increase to 8,000-9,000. ‘All effort is being made to open as early as we can.’

The first-mover advantage will be important, especially as both RWS and MBS have casinos and are likely to open around the same time. Mr Chin would not discount opening during the lucrative Chinese New Year period in February 2010 when gambling is a popular activity.

With about 80 per cent of the main construction work already completed, all that is left is to fit out the buildings. This will include Universal Studios Singapore, four hotels and the casino. Mr Chin said that by August, most of the rides and shows at USS will be ready for testing.

RWS is confident that its resort will attract 12-13 million visitors in the first year. But spokeswoman Krist Boo said that visitor spending may be affected by the global downturn. As a result, RWS has reduced its investor rate of return (IRR) by one to 2 percentage points. Ms Boo would not reveal the IRR on its $6.6 billion investment, but it is likely to be in the region of 15 per cent. She said that more than half of RWS’s revenue is likely to be generated by the casino.

USS will also be a revenue generator, but Ms Boo said that RWS is aware that ‘USS will have to be affordable’. Entry prices will be lower than those at other Universal Studios theme parks in Japan and the US, she said. A check with the Universal Studios websites shows a one-day pass costs 5,800 yen (S$88) at Universal Studios Japan and US$75 (S$109) at Universal Studios Orlando.

Source: Business Times, 26 June 2009

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