Home Top News Okada scraps plan to buy Dennis Uy’s Cebu casino

Okada scraps plan to buy Dennis Uy’s Cebu casino

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By Revin Mikhael D. Ochave, Reporter

OKADA MANILA operator Tiger Resort Leisure & Entertainment, Inc. (TRLEI) has ended talks to acquire a majority stake in Dennis A. Uy’s Emerald Bay integrated resort project in Mactan, Cebu.

Uy-led listed company PH Resorts Group Holdings, Inc. announced in a stock exchange disclosure on Tuesday that its subsidiary PH Travel and Leisure Holdings Corp. received a letter from TRLEI on July 1, terminating the term sheet for the deal entered into in December last year.

TRLEI is the third group that withdrew its investment plan in the Emerald Bay project, following Razon-led integrated resort operator Bloomberry Resorts Corp. and Cebu-based property developer AppleOne Properties, Inc.

The term sheet contained the basis for TRLEI to acquire a “significant majority ownership” in PH Travel subsidiaries Lapulapu Leisure, Inc. and Lapulapu Land Corp., which are the entities that operate the Emerald Bay Project.

The parties were originally scheduled to execute the agreements under the term sheet in July.

TRLEI is the Philippine unit of Japanese gaming firm Universal Entertainment Corp., while PH Resorts is the gaming and tourism holding company of Mr. Uy’s Udenna Group.

PH Resorts President Raymundo Martin M. Escalona said the company would meet with other parties that have shown interest in the Emerald Bay project.

“We understand that the Okada Manila operator no longer intends to pursue the Emerald Bay acquisition. Nevertheless, this development shall give PH Resorts the opportunity to engage with other parties which have already expressed their keen interest in the Emerald Bay Project, but have been unable to formalize due to the restrictions under the TRLEI deal,” he said.

“We assure our shareholders and stakeholders, however, that the company’s management is already working towards another transaction, be it an acquisition, joint venture, or otherwise, that will ensure the completion of the Emerald Bay Project,” he added.

Emerald Bay is a planned integrated resort with a five-star hotel adjacent to 300 meters of beachfront, with two 15-storey towers offering 642 rooms, four pools, 18 food and beverage outlets, retail spaces, conference and exhibition facilities, and a large-scale gaming floor with over 700 electronic gaming machines and over 140 tables.

Sought for comment, AP Securities, Inc. Research Head Alfred Benjamin R. Garcia said in a Viber message: “Clearly there is something undesirable in PH Resort’s books, as this is the third bail-out attempt to fall through.”

“I think at this point, it’s doubtful that PH Resorts can secure a partner unless it lowers its asking price,” he added.

BusinessWorld sought comments from TRLEI and Okada Manila but had not received a response as of the deadline.

For the first quarter, PH Resorts widened its net loss to P246.92 million from the P212.31-million net loss in the same period last year due to a P10.2-million foreign exchange loss. 

The company recorded an 87.2% increase in its first quarter revenue to P11.9 million from P6.35 million in 2023. Operating expenses fell by 4% to P34.6 million due to lower salaries and wages.

“Pursuant to the provisions of the term sheet, LapuLapu Leisure received partial nonrefundable payments from TRLEI totaling P327.6 million and P300.1 million as of March 31, 2024 and Dec. 31, 2023, respectively. These are presented as part of advances for future stock subscription under Liabilities in the consolidated statement of financial position as of March 31, 2024,” PH Resorts said in the regulatory filing. 

On Tuesday, PH Resorts shares fell by 19.44% or 14 centavos, ending at 58 centavos per share. 

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