Global Gaming Asset Management LLC (GGAM) has been allowed to sell shares it holds in Philippine casino developer Bloomberry Resorts Corp.
The arbitration tribunal “ordered the status quo ante as of January 15, 2014 and revoked the injunction and attachment orders of the regional trial court and allows GGAM to freely deal with, including sell, the shares,” Bloomberry said in a filing to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Thursday.
Earlier this year, Bloomberry had obtained a court order to protect the shares, which it said were the subject of a counterclaim by some of its subsidiaries.
In September 2013, Bloomberry terminated GGAM’s management contract for the US$1.2-billion Solaire Resort and Casino (pictured) in Manila. GGAM had held the contract from the time the property opened in March last year, and had also purchased 8.7 percent of Bloomberry prior to the opening.
GGAM said in September it was taking the termination of its casino contract to arbitration in Singapore. In a filing at the time, Bloomberry had accused the firm of breach of contract, including not spending “any material time in attending to the management of Solaire”.
In the decision announced this week, the arbitration tribunal denied the request of GGAM “to be declared full legal and beneficial owner of the shares free of any claims, liens or encumbrances” by Bloomberry’s subsidiaries Sureste Properties Inc (SPI) and Bloomberry Resorts and Hotels Inc (BRHI), as well as by Bloomberry’s majority shareholder Prime Metroline Holdings Inc (PMHI).
BRHI, as the licence holder in Entertainment City, owns the Solaire and operates the casino business, while SPI operates the hotel business.
The arbitrators also denied the request of GGAM to instruct BRHI, SPI and PMHI and their affiliates “from taking any actions that would interfere with or prevent any sale of the shares,” according to Thursday’s filing.
The tribunal however emphasised that it would make no declaration as to ownership of the shares.
“One reason for the order of the tribunal is its finding that PMHI, the original owner of the shares, is not a party to the arbitration,” Bloomberry said in the filing.
Solaire was the first of four billion-dollar casinos to rise on Manila Bay as part of the government’s bid to become Asia’s third major gambling centre alongside Macau and Singapore.
The casino operator posted a profit of PHP3.3 billion (US$74 million) for the first nine months of 2014, on gross revenue of PHP22.4 billion, up 127 percent from a year earlier.
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”We expect Goa to quickly become a US$1 billion market as it transitions to land-based casinos (from US$150 million today), which is still just a fraction of India’s total GGR potential of US$10 billion to US$17 billion”
Analyst at Union Gaming Securities Asia