Century Properties to court: Stop Okada group from terminating casino deal


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The Antonio-led property firm asks the Makati court for protection from the Okada group's move to scrap their investment agreement

Photo shows the artist's rendition of the Okada group's Manila Bay Resorts in the Entertainment City in Manila

MANILA, Philippines – Century Properties Group Inc. (CPG) said Tuesday, April 1 that it asked a local court to stop the group of Japanese gaming magnate Kazuo Okada from terminating their agreement to develop a $2-billion casino complex in the Entertainment City.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, the property firm said it filed on March 31 a petition for interim measures of protection against the Okada group before the Makati Regional Trial Court.

The measures included a writ of preliminary injunction, writ of preliminary mandatory injunction and writ of preliminary attachment/garnishment, and ex parte 20-day temporary order of protection.

“The filing of the aforesaid case does not pose any material or adverse effect on the business of the company as the subject petition involves a future/prospective project. CPG further undertakes that it shall inform the honorable exchange with regard to other material information relative to the above case and these transactions,” said CPG, which is led by former ambassador to China Jose Antonio.

CPG received a notice from Eagle I Landholdings Inc., Eagle II Holdco Inc., and Brontia Ltd. – the local units of the Okada group, terminating their investment agreement signed in October last year.

The agreement would have given CPG and another company, First Paramount Holdings 888 Inc., stakes in Eagle I. Eagle I owns a 30-hectare property in the Entertainment City where the $2-billion Manila Bay Resorts casino complex would be built. Aside from owning a stake, CPG was supposed to develop a 5-hectare luxury residential and commercial project within the complex.

CPG said it sent a notice of dispute to the Okada companies, challenging the validity of the notice of termination.

Okada’s group scrapped the agreement after First Paramount withdrew from the deal.

But CPG said the termination was “unfounded and disregards the letter and spirit of the investment agreement.”

The company explained that First Paramount’s withdrawal should not have rendered the deal ineffective as provisions under their agreement called for measures to exhaust all means for said agreement to come to a close.

Such measures included negotiating an alternative structure that would preserve the commercial terms of the agreement, and replacing First Paramount with another qualified Filipino company.

CPG also accused the Okada group of frustrating the closing of the agreement by not providing the company due diligence materials.

“Century immediately conducted the required due diligence in its desire to close the deal for the mutual benefit of both parties, but it could not complete the task due to the refusal of the Okada group and its counsel to provide Century reasonable access to due diligence materials.”

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 also tried to partner with the Gokongwei family for the 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

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