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.”


UAE’s Network International shrugs off Brexit to list shares in London

Updated 21 March 2019
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UAE’s Network International shrugs off Brexit to list shares in London

  • The planned share sale comes at an uncertain time in the UK
  • The company, which operates hospitals in the Middle East, was said to be also considering listing in the US or Singapore

DUBAI: Network International, the UAE payments processor, has committed to a London IPO next month in what would be the UK’s first big share sale of the year.
The company intends to have a free float of at least 25 percent and admission to the London Stock Exchange is expected to take place in April, Network International said in a regulatory filing on Thursday.
The planned share sale comes at an uncertain time in the UK where there is still no clarity around whether Britain will leave the EU or not at the end of the month.
VPS Healthcare, the Abu Dhabi-based hospital operator, is reconsidering plans to list in London due to uncertainty surrounding Brexit, Bloomberg reported on Thursday citing a person familiar with the matter.
The company, which operates hospitals in the Middle East, was said to be also considering listing in the US or Singapore.
Emirates NBD, Dubai’s biggest bank, owns 51 percent of Network International while Warburg Pincus and General Atlantic jointly own the rest.
The share sale will be a key test of investor demand for new listings in London after a subdued 2018 across most European markets.
“Volatility has continued in recent months, driven by the uncertainty around trade between the US and China, the wider geopolitical climate and the potential end of the current bull run,” said Peter Whelan, partner and UK IPO Lead at PwC in a recent report.
“We are seeing a healthy number of companies preparing for an IPO in 2019 despite the ongoing Brexit negotiations which have clearly impacted IPO activity on the London market.”
The payment processor reported earnings of $298 million last year according to its website, up from $262 million a year earlier. It does not disclose net income figures.
The company handles digital payments across the Middle East, which generate three quarters of its total earnings.
Last year it processed some $40 billion in payments for more than 65,000 merchants.
Its key markets in the region include the UAE and Jordan it says that Saudi Arabia offers “significant opportunities.” It also offers services in 40 African countries with Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa being its most important segments on the continent.