• Century, Okada end feud over casino project

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    CENTURY Properties Group Inc. (CPG) and the group of Japanese gaming tycoon Kazuo Okada have agreed to settle their years-long row amicably, with CPG agreeing to dismiss all its lawsuits against the Okada group.

    CPG, the upscale property firm of former ambassador Jose E.B. Antonio, said in a disclosure to the stock exchange that it is withdrawing its case against the Okada Group since the two parties have already held a meeting “that settled the issues amicably between the two firms.”

    “We recognize that the disagreement between our companies was a result of a misunderstanding of the issues, which were clarified in our meeting with Mr. Okada. We are now taking the appropriate legal steps to withdraw the case, as we focus our attention to more constructive matters. We wish the Okada group continued success in its projects,” Century Properties said.

    Last April, CPG elevated its case to an arbitration tribunal in Hong Kong to assert its rights in its partnership with the Okada Group to develop the $2-million Manila Bay Resorts project, which is one of the four integrated resort and casino complexes rising at the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.’s (Pagcor) Entertainment City.

    Manila Bay Resorts is currently being developed at the site by Okada-led gaming operator Tiger Resorts Leisure & Entertainment Inc.

    “The Okada Group thanks Century Properties for the opportunity to clarify and put the issues to rest. We take this opportunity as a big step towards moving forward with the development of the project, which we deem will be Asia’s best integrated resort that Filipinos will be proud of,” Kenji Sugiyama, Tiger Resorts president, said in the same statement.

    In the fourth quarter of 2013, CPG entered into an investment agreement with Okada’s Eagle I Landholdings Inc., Eagle II Holdco Inc. and Brontia Ltd. to develop a five-hectare residential and commercial project within the 44-hectare Manila Bay Resorts complex.

    In 2014, the Okada Group had sought to terminate the tripartite deal with CPG and its unit First Paramount Holdings 888 to develop the Manila Bay Resorts, after CPG withdrew First Paramount from the deal.

    CPG then pursued legal action against the Okada Group to protect its interest in the deal.
    A court order from the Makati Regional Trial Court was issued preventing the Okada Group from terminating the agreement, but the Court of Appeals later set it aside in a decision last March in favor of the Japanese gaming mogul.

    The deal would have provided CPG and First Paramount 60-percent ownership in Okada’s Eagle I Landholdings Inc., which holds the 44-hectare piece of land where Manila Bay Resorts is to be located.

    After the reconciliation, CPG will focus on its core project developments while Okada-led Tiger Resorts will continue with the development of Manila Bay Resorts, which is targeted to open by 2017.

    Prior to the amicable settlement between the two parties, Okada Group had launched talks with other companies to search for a local partner to address the issue of foreign ownership limitations. Gokongwei-led Robinsons Land Corp. and Andrew Tan-led Empire East Land Holdings were seen as a potential partner, but talks with both companies fell through.

    Incorporated in 1975, Century Properties was initially named Northwest Holdings and Resources Corp. In 2011, the company changed its name to its present one and its primary business to real estate venturing in residential, office, commercial retail, hotels and leisure and integrated mixed-use developments.

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