Heavy capital will be needed should the developer win bid for Singapore project Melco International Development may tap the market for funds if the company wins the right to build a resort complex in Singapore that could include the city state's first casino, according to managing director Lawrence Ho Yau-lun. The Singapore government will announce in parliament on Monday which of the 19 bids it has received since January will be given the go-ahead for the project. Melco put in a bid with its joint-venture partner, Publishing & Broadcasting, Australia's largest listed gaming and media company. 'There is a possibility of us seeking funding if our joint venture wins the project,' Mr Ho said. 'Through our contacts, we are led to believe the Singaporean government will allow a casino to be built in the resort. What we do not know is whether the government is going to offer one or two casino licences.' Mr Ho refused to disclose details of the joint venture's bid, although rumours have been rife that the consortium plans to invest US$320 million in the project. As well as possible casinos, the resort comprises theme parks, Singapore's biggest shopping plaza, a museum, convention halls and a 1,500-room hotel. The resort, due to open in 2009, will become a tourist attraction with the aim of doubling Singapore's tourist arrivals to 17 million a year, tripling their annual spending to US$18 billion and creating about 100,000 jobs. Other bidders for the massive project include Genting and its Star Cruises unit. Mr Ho did not believe such a resort would lure gamblers away from Macau. While the casinos in Macau catered mainly for mainlanders, Taiwanese and people from Hong Kong, Singapore's casino would target customers from Malaysia and Indonesia, he said. Shares in Melco rose 0.23 per cent to $21.65 yesterday. The company returned to the black last year with a net profit of $65.15 million, spurred by its strong gaming business in Macau. It had a net loss of $26.33 million in 2003.