The newly elected Board of Directors of Belle Corporation
Belle Corporation’s (“Belle”) first ever virtual Annual Stockholders’ Meeting was livestreamed on June 22, 2020. This alternative conduct of the meeting was in support of the Philippine government’s measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.
According to Manuel Gana, Belle President and Chief Executive Officer, “Over the years, Belle Corporation has remained resilient and focused on its mission of enhancing value for our investors and our stakeholders. We achieved our aim in 2019 despite a challenging business environment.”
Aside from Mr. Gana, Willy Ocier was re-elected as a member of the Board of Directors and assumed Chairmanship for 2020 to 2021. Joining them were Elizabeth Anne Uychaco, Vice Chair; Emilio De Quiros, Jr., Director; Gregorio Kilayko, Independent Director; Ricardo Moldez, Director; Jacinto Ng, Jr., Director; Amando Tetangco, Jr., Independent Director; Jose Sio, Director; Cesar Virata, Independent Director; and Virginia Yap, Director.
Disclosed during the meeting were Belle’s total revenues reaching Php7.5 billion, a 12% decline from last year, recurring net income of Php3.4 billion in 2019, which was within range of the Php3.6 billion achieved in 2018, revenue contributions from the Company’s different business lines, among others.
Belle also announced the payment of cash dividends amounting to Php1.2 billion or 12 centavos a share.
Below is the full text of the President’s Report:
To our Shareholders, Stakeholders and Guests, good afternoon. Thank you for joining us today in the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting of Belle Corporation.
Over the years, Belle Corporation has remained resilient and focused on its mission of enhancing value for our investors and our stakeholders. We achieved our aim in 2019 despite a challenging business environment.
Total revenues reached P7.5 billion in 2019, down 12% from P8.5 billion in 2018. This was largely due to the difficult dynamics experienced by our pari-mutuel gaming equipment leasing subsidiary, Pacific Online Systems Corporation. Despite this, recurring net income of P3.4 billion in 2019 was within range of the P3.6 billion achieved in 2018.
Discussing each of our lines of business briefly:
The lease of land and buildings in City of Dreams Manila to Melco realized revenues of P2.7 billion, representing a 12% improvement.
The share in gaming earnings of City of Dreams Manila of our subsidiary Premium Leisure Corp. was resilient at Php3 billion for 2019, within range of Php3.2 billion for 2018.
Belle’s real estate development and related activities in the Tagaytay Highlands and Midlands areas contributed revenues of P859 million while Pacific Online Systems Corporation saw its revenues contract by 49% to P990 million. This was due to competition from the small town lottery, and the temporary suspension of lottery and keno operations by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office or PCSO during the third quarter of 2019. Following the lifting of the suspension, Pacific Online has been working closely with the PCSO and its network of agents to boost the attractiveness of the pari-mutuel games it offers, and has been continuously working to implement cost efficiency measures across its operations.
As you are aware, the year 2020 has not started out well, with the global economy being severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. With the Taal Volcano eruption in January hampering our real estate sales, and the Covid-19 pandemic affecting all of our operations, our first quarter 2020 recurring net income declined by 31% to Php577 million, from Php 835 million in the first quarter of 2019.
However, Belle continues to maintain a strong balance sheet. As of March 31, 2020, Belle’s current assets covered more than twice its current liabilities and 176% of its total debt. The Company’s debt-to-equity ratio was a very conservative 20%, which is well below its peers in the real estate and integrated resort industries.
This fiscal prudence will give us the strength us to weather the current difficult period while being flexible enough to consider major investment opportunities.
Despite COVID-19 related challenges, and in keeping with its efforts to consistently declare regular annual dividends, Belle fulfilled the payment of its regular cash dividend to its common shareholders in 2020 in the amount of twelve centavos per share, or about Php1.2 billion. This was at par with its previous regular cash dividends paid in 2018 and in 2019.
Mindful of the need to operate our businesses with all our stakeholders in mind, our leadership has chosen to incorporate broader principles of sustainability into our everyday business decisions and endeavors. We presented the pillars of our approach in our 2019 Sustainability Report and would like to share them with you today.
Our first guiding pillar emphasizes that we pursue investments and businesses that offer sustainable growth and value creation opportunities for our shareholders and stakeholders.
Over the past 5 years, we have experienced tremendous growth at City of Dreams Manila and our performance has allowed us to consistently be one of the top taxpayers in the City of Paranaque.
Second, we deliver responsible leisure experiences with priority for social and environmental considerations at the center of our products and services.
Third, we facilitate local socio-economic development by providing job and skills development opportunities and by engaging local suppliers in our daily operations.
For our 4th pillar, we aim to be responsible stewards of our natural environment.
In 2019, we celebrated the 10th anniversary of “One Tree at a Time”, our annual tree planting activity that aims to plant one million trees by the year 2044.
5th, we aim to build self-sufficient host communities.
We help close the gap in basic social services by helping provide better access to public education, health services and farming livelihood programs.
With the prudent guidance of our Board, the diligent execution by our Management team and staff, and the support of our Shareholders, we believe that Belle Corporation will have the financial muscle and sound corporate governance necessary to weather the challenges we are facing in 2020.
Thank you for your continued support.
About Belle Corporation
Belle Corporation is a developer of tourism and leisure destinations in the Philippines. Its principal asset is the City of Dreams Manila in PAGCOR Entertainment City by Manila Bay, which is being leased on a long-term basis to Melco Resorts and Entertainment (Philippines) Corporation (Melco). In addition to lease income, Belle is accorded a share in revenues or earnings from City of Dreams Manila’s gaming operations through the operating agreement between its 78.7%-owned subsidiary, Premium Leisure Corp., and Melco. Belle also owns approximately one hectare of presently undeveloped land across from the City of Dreams Manila site.
South of Metro Manila, Belle owns significant real estate assets and develops premium residential resort projects around Tagaytay City. Among its exclusive destinations are the club and golf facilities and residential communities of Tagaytay Highlands and Tagaytay Midlands, as well as a further 800 hectares intended for future development.