Japanese gaming conglomerate Universal Entertainment Corp says it has terminated a deal to sell a plot of land close to the Okada Manila casino resort (pictured) in the Philippine capital, Manila. The company said it would now negotiate with other potential buyers, according to a Tuesday filing.
Universal Entertainment had announced in February 2020 the sale of a 36,610 square metres (394,000 sq feet) of land near Okada Manila. The group said at the time that the total value of the land sale amounted to approximately PHP13.18 billion (US$271.6 million, at current exchange rates).
The land sale was by Eagle I Landholdings Inc, an affiliate of Universal Entertainment, in which the latter group has a 40 percent interest.
In Tuesday’s statement, Universal Entertainment said it had “formally received a document” from the prospective buyer proposing to extend the settlement period. The two parties “were looking into concluding an agreement … on changes to the existing land sale agreement,” it stated.
It added: “However, in response to the new threat of coronavirus variants as well as the spread of Covid-19, the Philippine government decided to continue restricting the entry of foreign nationals into the country, and it was difficult to negotiate the extension of the [settlement] period as there was no prospect of resuming economic activities in the future.”
A number of gaming venues in Metro Manila has temporarily suspended their operations until at least April 4, due to the introduction of stricter restrictions as a countermeasure to the spread of the pandemic.
On Saturday, the country’s leader, President Rodrigo Duterte, ordered a period of so-called enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila and four nearby provinces from March 29 to April 4, as the country struggles to contain a new surge in Covid-19 infections.
Universal Entertainment said in Tuesday’s filing that it also “took into account new enquiries” from other parties about the land near Okada Manila. The company stated that it had “decided to terminate the existing land sale agreement with exclusivity on March 31, 2021,” in order to proceed with the sale via “negotiation with other buyers.”
When it announced the land sale agreement last year, Universal Entertainment said it would “refrain from disclosing the buyer” at the latter’s request.
The Japanese company said previously it had real estate development aspirations related to Okada Manila, and a wish to collaborate with third parties in order to “entice major brand hotels” to the Philippine market.
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