Las Vegas comes to Dubai with Caesar’s Palace deal

Caesars Entertainment and Meraas plan to open two Caesars Hotels & Beach Club resorts in Dubai. The hotels will be the first non-gaming properties to carry the Caesars brand.
Updated 15 April 2018
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Las Vegas comes to Dubai with Caesar’s Palace deal

  • Plan envisages 479 five star hotel rooms
  • First Caesar resort in region without gaming

Caesar’s Palace, the legendary Las Vegas entertainment venue, has teamed up with Dubai developer Meraas to create its first hotel and leisure resort in the Middle East.

The American hotel operator — known for its sumptuous recreation of life under the Roman emperors — will be the main attraction on the Bluewater Island development off Dubai’s Jumeirah Beach Resort, with two hotels, two apartment buildings, a beach club and other entertainment facilities to open by the end of the year.

Bob Morse, president of Caesar’s Entertainment hospitality division, told Arab News that the development was its first in the region, and the first without gaming facilities — a significant revenue stream elsewhere in the world but forbidden under Islamic law.

“In Vegas, around 60 percent of our revenue is from non-gaming activities. We are a company that is increasingly morphing into hospitality,” he added.

Entertainment on Bluewater would consist of restaurants, food and beverage, live shows and possibly a show theater along the lines of the big Las Vegas attractions. “We want facilities that change from family oriented during the day to 21-plus in the evening,” he added.

The plan will see the creation of 479 five star hotel rooms on the island, which is connected by a roadway to the mainland. The island already has the biggest Ferris wheel in the world, the Dubai Eye, which is in the final stages of testing.

Morse said that Caesar’s was aware of the changes under way in Saudi Arabia, which include a big focus on new leisure and entrainment activities, but had not held any talks with potential partners to bring the Las Vegas concept to the Kingdom.

“Everything the Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is doing makes the Saudi market more appealing than it was a year ago. We’re very excited about the Saudi market as a whole, with all the changes going on. It makes sense to go in now when it didn’t make sense to do so before,” he said.

Morse said that Caesar’s had been in talks with Dubai authorities for two years over the project, attracted by the emirate’s position as a financial and resort center for the Middle East.

Abdullah Al-Habbai, chairman of Dubai government owned Meraas, said: “The deal with Caesar’s is a significant achievement for the emirate’s thriving hospitality and entertainment sectors.”


NMC Health’s $450 million bond to boost Saudi expansion

Updated 14 min 22 sec ago
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NMC Health’s $450 million bond to boost Saudi expansion

LONDON: The UAE-based private health care operator NMC Health has launched a $450 million senior unsecured guaranteed bond to help pay off an existing $1 billion bridge facility and support its expansion plans into Saudi Arabia.

The earlier bridging loan was part of the $2 billion capital structure refinancing put in place at the start of the year, the company said.

The bond is due in 2025 and is convertible into ordinary shares. JP Morgan is the sole bookrunner on the issuance. Bonds will have a fixed coupon rate of 1.875 percent, paid semi-annually.

The new capital structure — which will feature a mixture of unsecured bank and bond financing — will aid the company’s continued growth into Saudi Arabia, with NMC having been one of the first private health care providers to capitalize on the Saudi government’s health care privatization plans.

The company first secured a foothold in the Kingdom in 2016 after acquiring a 70 percent stake in As Salama Hospital in Al-Khobar.

Since then, NMC won regulatory approval last September for a new long-term care facility, the Chronic Care Specialty Medical Center, in Jeddah. It is though to be the first greenfield medical facility in the Kingdom to be set up by a non-Saudi company.

Earlier this year, NMC said it acquired an 80 percent stake in the Riyadh-based Al-Salam Medical Group.

NMC’s acquisition-led expansion strategy aims to ensure the company retains its recently-won place on London’s FTSE 100 index. It was one of the first Middle Eastern companies to join the index when it qualified last September. It first listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2012.

The company posted strong growth in the last year, reporting $209.3 million in net profit for 2017, an increase of 38.2 percent on the previous year. The company paid out a total of $641 million in acquisitions last year.

“2017 proved to be a year of tremendous achievements for NMC,” said the firm’s chief executive Prasanth Manghat, in a statement in March.

NMC also secured secured its first public ratings of BB+ with a stable outlook from S&P on April 20, while Moody’s gave the firm rating of Ba1 with a stable outlook on April 20, 2018. The bonds are not expected to be rated.

“The company continues to strive to meet self-imposed standards that are higher when compared to what is expected of it by various regulators. This approach supports in turn its resilient business model, loyal customer base, strong brand recognition and market leading position,” according to a statement from Moody’s Investors Service.

Investors are so far reacting favorably to NMC’s strategy, with the company closing at a record high on April 20, according to Bloomberg reports, with a market value of $10.8 billion.

The company is now one of 24 equities in the region to have achieved a market capitalization of more than $10 billion, the report said.

Healthcare is seen as a lucrative sector in the Gulf due to its relatively wealthy population becoming increasingly at risk of problems related to obesity and diseases such as type 2 diabetes.