Thunderbird Update: Panama continues to be a leader in the market
POWAY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 16, 2005--International Thunderbird Gaming Corporation (CNQ:ITGC.U) announces the following update in the Company's operations and business development:
Costa Rica: The Company recently held its grand opening of the Fiesta Casino Costa Rica at the Garden Court Hotel adjacent to the San Jose International Airport and on the Hampton Hotel Property. The entertainment center includes our second Pirates Bar & Restaurant that overlooks the casino floor of 160 state-of-the-art slot machines, 121 table positions as well as a VIP room catering to high-end players. The San Jose area has a population of 3.9 million, a GDP of $32 billion and a per capita GDP of $8,300. This is compared to Panama, Thunderbird's flagship market, which has a population of 2.9 million, a GDP of $18.1 billion and a per capita GDP of $6,200. Costa Rica's economy is stable, diverse and relatively free of the country risks inherent in other developing markets. The Fiesta Casino at the Presidente Hotel is continuing to show great progress.
Philippines: The Company expects its Fiesta Casino Manila to have a grand opening on April 12, 2005. The Casino, unlike any other in the Philippines, will be a part of a hotel and golf resort complex. Located on the edge of Metro Manila, the property offers a scenic lake view that is a perfect getaway for both local Filipinos and Asians seeking an urban resort retreat with luxury hotel, international-caliber golf, fine dining and thematic gaming experience.
Honduras: The Company is advancing its development efforts in Honduras with a plan to open and operate a slot parlor business in various locations throughout the country. The trademarked "Video Suerte" will be a welcomed addition to the Company's base of businesses throughout Central America. The Company has agreed to terms with a local partner who has a license to operate 5 slot parlors with up to 80 machines at each location.
Chile: The Chilean Casino Law was approved on January 7, 2005. Under the law, bidding is expected to take place between July and August of this year, and we hope to have results between Q4 of this year and Q1 2006. The law allows for 17 casino licenses, each of which will have market exclusivity within a 70 km radius. Winning bids are those that maximize economic and tourism impact.
Thunderbird is developing approximately 6 to 8 projects designed to secure the maximum number of impact points possible, while at the same time remain within our profit expectations. We fully expect to win $30-$50 million in gaming revenues and an additional $10-$15 million in non-gaming revenues. We expect most of the gaming revenues to come on-line between Q3 and Q4 of 2006.
In relation to the specifics of our projects, the Company is engaged in an intense "bid preparation period" for our final bids. Markets in which we are heavily focused include, but are not limited to, Rancagua, Concepcion, Antofagasta and Talca. We expect to publicly announce all of our proposed locations in June 2005, as required under the new Chilean law.
Thunderbird is currently structuring its financing for these projects. Negotiations are pending, but indications are that financing will be attainable given the value of the licenses and the relative low risk of the Chilean market.
More information on our projects and financing will be disclosed over the next two months.
Panama: Operations in Panama continue to be a leader in the market, despite the opening of large competitors. The Majestic Casino recently opened with approximately 478 slot machines. Crown Casino in the Intercontinental Hotel opened its expansion in December introducing 150 new slots. While both properties will be a factor in future market conditions, results show that El Panama Fiesta Casino has maintained its position as the leader in the market. The Panama operations have employed a strategy of diversification throughout the country. The Company's four casinos outside Panama City continue to show good growth year over year, a trend that has been consistent for 5 years. The operations in Panama City have been able to maintain revenue streams in the face of quite formidable competition. However, two additional large Casinos will be opening in the same market area as the El Panama.
Nicaragua: The Fiesta Casino and Pharaoh's Casino in Managua have shown impressive results over the past several months. The Company is planning to open a third casino in May 2005 located at the Camino Real hotel at the airport in Managua. The casino will open with 154 slot machines and 49 table positions.
Guatemala: The Company's expansion plans in Guatemala are underway. It will open a video lotteria parlor in April, 2005 in Matzatenango. It will have 85 video gaming positions. There are plans to open 3 additional facilities this year.
NAFTA: The Company continues to await the decision of the arbitration tribunal concerning its claim against the government of Mexico for the closure of its Skill Game operations.
International Thunderbird Gaming Corporation is an owner and manager of international gaming facilities. Additional information about the Company is available on its World Wide Web site at www.thunderbirdgaming.com. The Company moved its corporate offices to a new location just north of San Diego, California.
On behalf of the Board of Directors,
Jack R. Mitchell, President and CEO
Cautionary Notice: This release contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of section 21E of the United States Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. All statements, other than statements of historical fact, included herein, including without limitation, statements regarding potential revenue and future plans and objectives of the Company are forward-looking statements that involve risk and uncertainties. There can be no assurances that such statements will prove to be accurate and actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the Company's forward-looking statements include competitive pressures, unfavorable changes in regulatory structures, and general risks associated with business, all of which are disclosed under the heading "Risk Factors" and elsewhere in the Company's documents filed from time-to-time with the CNQ and other regulatory authorities. International Thunderbird Gaming Corporation (CNQ:ITGC.U).