Okada, Tan in P45B property deal
Empire East to build upscale condo complexBy Doris C. Dumlao
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Property magnate Andrew Tan has teamed up with Japanese tycoon Kazuo Okada to build a P45-billion upscale residential condominium complex as a key component of the latter’s $2-billion entertainment hub in Pagcor’s Entertainment City.
Tan-led Empire East Land Holdings Inc. (ELI) disclosed to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Monday that it had signed a joint-venture agreement with Okada’s Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment Inc. and Eagle 1 Landholdings Inc. to “take the lead with a majority stake in the development of a 12.95-hectare luxury residential resort condominium project in Entertainment City Manila.”
The upscale project will comprise more than 25 residential towers to be built in several phases, signaling ELI’s bid to grab a piece of the high-end property market. ELI’s share price surged by 10 percent to close at P0.88 per share on Monday after the announcement of this property deal, which will expand Andrew Tan’s overall interest in Pagcor’s Entertainment City, which is envisioned to be the Philippine version of the Las Vegas strip in Asia. Tan’s ultimate holding firm Alliance Global Group also saw its shares rise by 2.57 percent to P11.98 per share.
Tan has an existing partnership with Malaysian conglomerate Genting through Travellers Hotel International, operator of Resorts World Manila (RWM). It has been estimated that RWM—the first privately owned casino in the country—corners 40 percent of the Philippine gaming market. Tan also has a license to put up a gaming hub in the Entertainment City. The other licensees are Okada, taipan Henry Sy and ports king Enrique Razon Jr.
ELI’s partnership with Okada in the Entertainment City, however, is only on residential development.
“Empire East has evolved over the years. It is now a strong brand for even higher-end market because of our residential resort concepts,” ELI president Anthony Charlemagne Yu said in a text message. “Empire East will compete with all the developers in the market, including Megaworld. This is healthier rather than limiting ELI into one segment of the market.”
The P45-billion project will be done in phases and funded through a mix of equity and debt. A minimum outlay of P10 billion has been initially committed, Yu said. “Empire East has very low gearing and can easily gear up some more,” he said.
“We believe that Entertainment City Manila will not only be the biggest tourist hub in the Philippines in the next few years but also an excellent place to live in. We foresee that this world-class city will attract one million tourists yearly and will be a big draw for foreign investors and retirees. Many of these visitors may opt to buy properties for a longer stay or retirement. With Empire East’s participation in Entertainment City, we intend to make this place not just a great resort for tourists, but also a great resort community for people to live in,” Yu said.
ELI recently approved to increase its authorized capital stock from P23.4 billion to P33.4 billion, which is expected to be completed within the end of the year.
Okada has vowed to put up a $2-billion world-class resort-casino complex in the Philippines, predicting that Asia would beat Las Vegas as the epicenter of the global gaming industry.
Earlier this year, Okada was embroiled in a bitter squabble with his former partners at Wynn Resorts, where he owned the largest block of shares until he was ejected in a boardroom coup on allegations of corrupt practices. Okada’s gaming complex is expected to be completed by 2014.
On Friday, Gokongwei-led Robinsons Land Corp. also confirmed discussions with the group of Okada to participate in a $2-billion entertainment complex in Pagcor City.
Originally posted: 11:48 am | Monday, July 16th, 2012
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