• Okada ‘regrets’ Century dispute, says $2-B casino project on track

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    The Okada Group said it regrets the dispute with Century Properties Group Inc. (CPG) over the termination of their partnership, but added that its $2-billion casino project in Manila remains on track and should open by the middle of next year, creating thousands of jobs for Filipinos.

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    Commenting on the falling out with CPG, the Okada Group said “we regret that the development turned out the way it did.”

    In October last year, Okada Group invited CPG to become a shareholder of Eagle 1 Landholdings, Inc. and to develop a 5-hectare luxury commercial-residential property within the group’s 30-hectare Manila Bay Resorts complex in PAGCOR’s Entertainment City.

    Eagle 1 is the Philippine affiliate of the Okada-led Universal Entertainment Corp.

    An agreement was then signed among CPG, Eagle 1 and another firm, First Paramount Holdings 888 Inc.

    However, a dispute broke out between CPG and Okada a few weeks ago when the group of Japanese gaming and hotels magnate Kazuo Okada scrapped the proposed partnership with the local developer.

    CPG told the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) that it received a “Notice of Termination of the Investment Agreement” from Jose Lis Leagogo, who represents Eagle I Landholdings Inc., Eagle II Holdco Inc. and Brontia Ltd, collectively known as the Okada Group.

    CPG then sent a notice of dispute to the Okada Group, putting in motion a mandatory 21-day discussion period between the two parties.

    According to CPG, the decision of the Okada Group to terminate the investment agreement between them was premature since the 21-day discussion period has not yet lapsed.

    “We wish to say that there have been no financial transactions with CPG and the Okada group. As we have mentioned previously, the investment agreement with CPGI was executed by three parties,” said Kenji Sugiyama, spokesman of Tiger Resort, Leisure & Entertainment Inc.

    Tiger Resort, another Universal Entertainment subsidiary, has general control over overseas casino resort operation, planning, administration and development activities for Manila Bay Resorts.

    “Unfortunately, one of the three withdrew from the agreement. Hence, we have no recourse but to stop the negotiations with CPGI,” Sugiyama said.

    “We are always complying with respective laws and regulations both in Japan and in the Philippines. We will not tolerate any semblance of dishonesty in our dealings,” he added.

    Meanwhile, Sugiyama said that construction of the Manila Bay Resorts is still on track with a target opening date of mid-2015. “Our construction is progressing according to schedule. Currently, this construction includes the hotel tower and casino floors. We project mass hiring of operational staff during our planned opening in the third quarter of 2015,” he said.

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