• Okada secures new partnerships

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    After unsuccessful attempts to secure a partnership with a local firm that left its planned business venture in Entertainment City idling, Japanese Tycoon Kazuo Okada finally secured deals with Philippine firms, agreeing to issue the local firms as much as 720 million voting preferred shares.

    In a filing with the Tokyo Stock Exchange, Universal Entertainment Corp. disclosed that its affiliate in the Philippines, Eagle I Landholdings Inc., has just signed an agreement allowing Philippine business partners, Century Properties Group, Inc. and First Paramount Holdings 888, Inc., to hold as much as 720 million voting preferred shares which Eagle I will issue.

    “This issuance of 720 million voting preferred shares results in more than 60 percent of Philippines national ownership of Eagle I, and this agreement will create a more favorable situation in response to the land ownership requirements,” Universal Representative Director and President Jun Fujimoto said.

    Specifically, the number of shares that will be issued to Century Properties is 432 million or 60 percent of the newly-issued voting preferred shares, while First Paramount will get the remaining 40 percent or 288 million shares.

    Also, a part of this agreement, Eagle I and Century Properties entered into a development agreement to develop residential and shopping centers in five hectares within the 44 hectares development called Manila Bay Resorts.

    Century Properties specified that together with Eagle I, it will develop five hectares of land within the 44 hectare site called ‘Manila Bay Resorts’, a project in the Entertaintment City that has been delayed due to land ownership issues involving Okada.

    On the five-hectare site, Century will develop luxury residential and retail properties that will total over 300,000 square meters of gross floor area upon completion.

    “Closing of both the memorandum of agreement for the five-hectare site and investment agreement for Eagle 1 shall occur upon satisfaction of legal and regulatory requirements, and neither transactions contemplate Century being involved in any aspect of the gaming operations,” Century Properties said.

    Also, Universal Entertainment said that the impact of the agreement on the financial forecasts of the company will be minimal.

    “We will make an appropriate disclosure if any further events occur, such as the determination whether it is categorized or not,” it added.

    It was earlier reported that Okada was in talks with the Gokongwei family involving a casino operation partnership, but both parties scrapped the discussions later on.

    After that, speculation that the Andrew Tan-led Empire East Land Holdings Inc. has begun talks with Okada, for the potential acquisition of the property where the Japanese businessman was supposed to be building a $2-billion casino resort complex, was later on confirmed by an Empire East company official.

    In 2008, Universal acquired a 44-hectare site in the country, and was given a provisional license by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.to operate a casino.

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