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Manila Jockey Club to keep majority stake in tourism unit

Posted on October 24, 2012 11:18:09 PM [ BusinessWorld Online ]

LISTED RACETRACK operator Manila Jockey Club, Inc. will keep its majority stake in tourism and leisure subsidiary MJC Investments, Inc. following the latter’s earlier announcement of a P2.15-billion equity infusion from a number of investors.

“Please be informed that the board of directors of Manila Jockey Club decided during its meeting today (Oct. 24) to maintain its controlling interest in its subsidiary, MJC Investments and accordingly modify MJC Investments’ earlier board resolution, dated Oct. 22,” the parent company said in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) yesterday.

“This decision shall ensure the full realization of the corporation’s corporate vision and successful implementation of its ongoing projects,” Manila Jockey Club said without elaborating.

The parent firm held 84.43% of its listed subsidiary as of end-September, according to the unit’s public ownership report to the PSE.

Last Monday, MJC Investments announced that its board had approved the subscription by 16 investment holding companies to P2.15 billion of its expanded capital.

In a separate disclosure to the PSE yesterday, MJC Investments said it will take in new investments provided Manila Jockey Club retains at least a 51% stake.

The P2.15-billion infusion had been allotted for MJC Investments’ planned hotel, tourism and entertainment hub at the San Lazaro Business and Tourism Park in Sta. Cruz, Manila.

“The corporation (MJC Investments) shall now proceed to negotiate and accept new investments in accordance with such guideline, i.e., that at least 51% of the subscribed expanded capital shall remain with the parent company (Manila Jockey Club),” MJC Investment said in its disclosure.

Officials of Manila Jockey Club and MJC Investments were not immediately available yesterday for more details.

In its disclosure, Manila Jockey Club also noted in its disclosure that its board approved the distribution of a cash dividend of eight centavos per share to all stockholders as of Nov. 12.

Manila Jockey Club, touted as Asia’s oldest racing club, was established in 1867 and incorporated in 1937, according to information posted on PSE’s Web site.

The company conducts racetrack operations under a horse racing license valid until 2022, and pays a franchise tax equivalent to 25% of its gross earnings from horse racing bets in lieu of all taxes except income tax, its end-June financial report showed.

The company conducts over 1,000 races yearly on its 77-hectare racetrack in Carmona, Cavite, and operated 255 off-track betting stations -- 29 of them in the provinces -- as of end-2011.

MJC Investments, meanwhile, was incorporated in 1955 as Aries Prime Resources, Inc., to engage in mining.

It ceased its mining business and shifted to being an investment holding company in 1997, and then to a tourism and leisure firm in 2009.

Shares of Manila Jockey Club shed one centavo or 0.34% to P2.91 apiece yesterday from P2.92 last Tuesday, while those of MJC Investments stayed at P7. -- F. J. G. de la Fuente        

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