Lawrence Ho, Chief Executive Officer and co-Chairman of MPEL, commented, "We are delighted to report our first full quarter of profitability since listing at the end of 2006. The dramatic improvement in the core rolling chip business at Crown Macau in the first quarter of 2008 has been maintained into the second quarter of 2008, and this has led to a rapid acceleration in profitability at both the property level and for MPEL as a whole. We see this as validation of our decision taken over nine months ago to sharpen our focus at Crown Macau on the rapidly growing rolling chip segment.
"In the span of a few short months, Crown Macau has become the busiest casino in the world in terms of gaming volume, impressive given the physical size of the property compared with many of its competitors, and the relatively modest capital investment cost of US$382 million (excluding land value). This is a testament to the award-winning design of the property and the quality of the guest experience delivered by our highly-trained staff. We believe that our insight into the customer profile and our long established and close relationships with our approved junket operators provide MPEL with a distinct competitive advantage.
"We experienced a substantial improvement in rolling chip table games hold percentage in the first quarter of 2008; up from 2.4% in the last quarter of 2007 to 3.1% in the reporting quarter. This is above our expected long term hold percentage of 2.7%.
"We are encouraged by the success we have enjoyed at Crown Macau, and we are equally excited about City of Dreams, our ongoing development in Cotai. We held the topping out ceremony on schedule at the end of the first quarter 2008. We will continue to work diligently over the coming year to deliver an integrated urban destination resort with compelling entertainment and world-class amenities, designed to broaden the appeal of Macau to a growing population of visitors.
"We believe the recent announcement by the Macau government regarding the regulation of the gaming industry is a major positive for the industry and MPEL. We applaud the continued leadership the government has demonstrated on these important issues, and we are proud that our development pipeline delivers what Macau needs to become the entertainment capital of Asia. Our accomplishments are directly attributable not only to our vision and execution, but to the hard work and support of our staff. Upon completion of City of Dreams, MPEL will employ approximately 16,000 individuals in Macau. We are proud to add to the growing prosperity of the city and the ongoing improvement in the lives of its citizens."