Adding more guest rooms to the Okada Manila casino resort in the Philippine capital is the “highest priority” for investor Universal Entertainment Corp, the firm said in a filing to Jasdaq.
There would also be “expansion of the gaming area, including the addition of a casino exclusively for VIP guests,” opening of “more restaurants” and enlargement of the shopping mall “in order to attract an even larger number of guests,” said the Japanese conglomerate. It didn’t mention a timetable for such upgrades.
Financial institution Morgan Stanley Asia Ltd stated in a January note that an initial hotel wing at Okada Manila was due to have circa 500 rooms when fully opened, with a similar number added in another wing by 2019.
Universal Entertainment’s latest filing to Jasdaq said the whole property – which had a soft launch of some non-gaming amenities as long ago as December 2016 – was due to be completed by December 2019.
“This casino and resort has expanded amenities other than the casino to a level that no competitor can match,” claimed Universal Entertainment in its filing.
“There are many VIP visitors from China, South Korea and other Asian countries as well as large numbers of guests who live in the Philippines,” it added.
The company said additionally that the start of “full-scale operations of a VIP casino is expected to make a big contribution” to its annual sales.
The update also clarified the casino gaming performance of the group during the stub-year reporting period running from April 1 to December 31 last year. The shortened period was due to Universal Entertainment changing its reporting protocols, which also made it hard to make meaningful year-on-year comparisons.
Sales in the casino segment were JPY16.05 billion (US$147.3 million) in the nine months to December 31, but there was an operating loss of JPY9.02 billion in that segment for the reporting period because of fixed expenses, said the firm.
Group wide, the business – which also makes casino electronic games and pachinko machines – generated net sales of nearly JPY68.55 billion, but a net loss of nearly JPY13.43 billion.
In March Universal Entertainment flagged it expected a huge uplift in profit for financial year ending December 31, 2018, as a result of a settlement agreement with Wynn Resorts Ltd regarding the 2012 cancellation at discount of Wynn Resorts stock held by Universal Entertainment unit Aruze USA Inc.
Universal Entertainment was founded by Japanese entrepreneur Kazuo Okada, but is in dispute with him after accusing him of fraud – which he denies – and after ousting him from the board. The row includes whether Mr Okada has the right to control a Hong Kong company which holds a 60-percent stake in Universal Entertainment.
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"I am not going to speculate on what the [casino licence refreshment] tender requirements would be. I have full confidence and faith in the Macau government to treat everyone fairly"
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China