Japanese gaming company Universal Entertainment Corp says its Okada Manila casino resort (pictured) in the Philippines recorded an operating loss of nearly JPY6.21 billion (US$55.6 million) in 2018.
The property posted net sales of nearly JPY48.94 billion for the period, the company added. A Philippine subsidiary, Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment Inc, runs Okada Manila.
Universal Entertainment said in a filing to Jasdaq on Friday that Okada Manila’s adjusted earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) was approximately JPY4.09 billion in 2018.
“Quarterly adjusted segment EBITDA continued to increase throughout the year,” Universal Entertainment said.
It added: “Okada Manila… increased net sales by the expansion of facilities such as hotel rooms and restaurants as well as by the grand opening of the VIP casino areas, addition of junkets and implementation of a mass market casino marketing programme.”
Universal Entertainment stated that the average hotel room occupancy rate in 2018 “was extremely high at 98.3 percent”. According to Friday’s filing, all rooms in Hotel Tower A at Okada Manila became available in the fourth quarter of 2018.
“Currently, adding more guest rooms is the highest priority of Okada Manila,” stated Universal Entertainment. “Plans also include expansion of the gaming area, including the addition of a casino exclusively for VIP guests, opening more restaurants and enlarging the shopping mall in order to attract an even larger number of guests,” the firm added.
The company said additional room supply was expected to become available in 2019, in Hotel Tower B. “This will help support continued growth in the casino business as well as better position the resort to host large group events and foreign tour groups,” the firm stated.
Universal Entertainment said that Okada Manila opened in the fourth quarter of 2018 two new attractions, namely: “The Garden”, an open space of 30,000 square metres (323,000 sq. feet) that offers views of the Manila Bay; and “The Coral Lounge”, a live entertainment bar located at the centre of the gaming floor.
“Monthly property visitors continued to reach a record-high every month in the fourth quarter of 2018,” added Universal Entertainment.
Universal Entertainment again mentioned plans to float shares in Tiger Resort this year, in order “to accelerate” the subsidiary’s growth. The firm plans to achieve that by using the already-listed Asiabest Group International Inc: Universal Entertainment announced in February it had completed the acquisition of a 66.6-percent stake in Asiabest, “to facilitate the listing of shares” in Tiger Resort.
“More details [on the listing operation] will be disclosed as soon as they are finalised,” added Universal Entertainment in Friday’s filing.
Okada Manila has been ramping up its casino business – posting US$522 million in casino GGR last year – against the background of the general expansion in Philippine casino market GGR. Universal Entertainment stated in its Friday filing it expected gaming revenue across al segments – including VIP, mass market table and gaming machine revenue – to “continue growing” in 2019, driven by the addition of new junkets, continued property ramp-up and new casino marketing initiatives.
The Okada Manila is named after the founder of Universal Entertainment, Kazuo Okada, who is now estranged from the company he founded. A multifaceted legal case is currently before officials in several jurisdictions as Mr Okada seeks to regain control of his business empire.
The promoters of Okada Manila said in February that they were actively considering rebranding the property
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”Despite the re-opening of the integrated resort [Okada Manila], we believe there are significant risks to the segment’s recovery in view of travel restrictions, potential new outbreaks and further lockdowns that could weigh on earnings and cash flows”