RAZON-led Bloomberry Resorts Corp. said it is targeting to open Solaire Resort North within the first quarter of 2024 after the pandemic and supply chain disruptions delayed the project.

“The project was delayed during the pandemic and the lockdowns for obvious reasons and further delays have been experienced due to disruptions in the supply chain and components that come from abroad that are needed to finish the property,” Bloomberry President and Chairman Enrique K. Razon, Jr. said during the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting on Thursday.

“But we are working our way through this more and more, we are gaining traction and progressing in the construction. And very soon, we will be able to determine a hard date for opening but we still expect as of today for that opening to be within the first quarter of 2024,” he added.

Solaire Resort North will rise on a 15,676-square-meter lot in Vertis North, Quezon City. The project started excavation work in 2019 but construction work was halted by pandemic restrictions.

Meanwhile, Mr. Razon expects Bloomberry’s gaming to drive this year’s top line amid the segment’s expected growth.

“The mass gaming segment is primed to set new highs in 2023 and will continue to contribute the lion’s share of our revenues. We anticipate that this segment will grow steadily on the back of sustained expansion of the local economy, which is forecasted to grow between 6% and 7% this,” he said, pertaining to the government’s target gross domestic product growth for the year.

In 2022, the company recorded an attributable net income of P5.17 billion, a reversal of the past two years’ losses, after gaming revenues increased by 72% to P32.21 billion from P18.73 billion previously.

The growth in the segment drove Bloomberry’s top line, which increased 76.5% to P38.81 billion in 2022, from P21.97 billion in 2021.

Mr. Razon said the casino-resort operator is seeing an increase in the number of travelers from Asian countries particularly South Korea and China as restrictions ease.

“Steadily, we are seeing increases in inflows from both countries and other countries as well. We expect and hope that this trend continues through the year,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Razon foresees inflation and Russia’s war on Ukraine to continue affecting the operational cost of International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI), which he also chairs.

“We have inflationary headwinds throughout the globe right now and we expect that to continue and there’s really no telling when this inflationary environment will end,” Mr. Razon said during the port operator’s annual stockholders’ meeting on Thursday.

He said the war in Ukraine “is causing global instability and energy prices to go up and we also cannot say when this war will conclude and how long it will last.”

Amid inflationary pressures cited, the company will keep a close watch on its costs and the management of its ports, Mr. Razon said.

“However, the company’s business remains strong and we continue to be very prudent in our actions and watch very closely our costs and how we are managing each and every terminal,” he said.

“I believe that these problems will continue for the foreseeable future but the company will overcome them eventually,” he added.

In 2022, ICTSI posted a 43% jump in its attributable net income to $618.46 million after booking higher operating income.

In 2022, the port operator’s revenues from operations increased by 19.8% to $2.24 billion from $1.87 billion in 2021. It saw a 9% increase in the consolidated volume it handled to 12.22 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) from 11.16 million TEUs a year earlier.

On Thursday, shares in Bloomberry slipped by four centavos or 0.44% to P9.06 each, while ICTSI shares went up by P3.60 or 1.71% to P213.60 apiece. — Justine Irish D. Tabile