MANILA, Philippines – The group of Japanese gaming magnate Kazuo Okada and Century Properties Group Inc. (CPG) are embroiled in a dispute over the former’s casino complex in the Entertainment City at the Manila Bay area.
CPG is reviewing possible legal actions against Okada’s local units after it received a notice of termination of their investment agreement signed in October.
CPG said the termination was “premature and unfounded as it lacks legal and contractual bases.”
“Despite Century’s good faith efforts to bring its investment transaction to closing, the Okada group did not deliver its closing obligations,” the property company of the Antonio family said.
The parties signed a deal that would have given CPG a stake in Okada-led holding firm Eagle I Landholdings Inc., which owns a 30-hectare property in the Entertainment City where the $2-billion Manila Bay Resorts casino complex would rise. CPG also agreed to develop a 5-hectare luxury residential and commercial project within the complex.
“The investment of Century in the project regrettably cannot proceed at this point. Century is currently reviewing its legal options to preserve its rights and shall issue an official response to the notice of termination shortly.”
In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, CPG said it received the notice from Eagle 1, Eagle II Holdco Inc., and Brontia Ltd. It said it sent a notice of dispute to the companies, triggering a mandatory 21-day period of discussion among the parties. While the period of discussion was still in effect, CGP said the Okada companies still proceeded with the termination.
CPG said it was still open to proceeding with the deal, “if our dispute is resolved in a constructive manner in the days to come and if all conditions are met to protect the interest of our shareholders.”
The company said it allocated $12 million for the casino project sourced from its existing cash balances.
Okada’s group holds one of 4 licenses handed out by Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) for casino complexes worth at least $1 billion each in Entertainment City.
Other franchises are held by the tieup of Australian billionaire James packer and Macau gambling tycoon Lawrence Ho with Henry Sy-led Belle Corporation; and the firms of billionaires Enrique Razon Jr. and Andrew Tan.
Earlier, Okada’s group also tried to partner with the Gokongwei family for its casino complex, but negotiations collapsed.
Okada was roiled in controversy when he was sued by his US partner Steve Wynn for alleged bribery of Pagcor officials in his pursuit of a Manila casino license. – Rappler.com