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Gokongwei-Okada talks still on

By Jenniffer B. Austria | Posted on Dec. 10, 2012 at 12:02am
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Robinsons Land Corp., the property unit of the Gokongwei Group, is still in talks with Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada over a casino development project in Pasay City.
Robinsons Land president Frederick Go said negotiations were on despite bribery allegations against Okada that could possibly lead to a revocation of the casino license granted by state-run Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.
Go declined to provide additional details on the negotiations. He also did not comment when asked about the nature of the talks and if the Gokongwei Group would be interested in taking over Okada’s license if the government decided to cancel it.
Share prices of both Robinsons Land and JG Summit Holdings Inc.  recently surged on speculations the Gokongwei group would bid for the casino license held by Okada if the Japanese billionaire’s permit was revoked.
Lawmakers are conducting a investigation against Okada on allegations his group bribed Pagcor officials to obtain a casino license in the country.
Okada’s Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment Inc. is one of the four groups that received a license to operate a casino in Pagcor’s Entertainment City. Okada  plans to build a $2-billion world-class, resort-casino complex in Entertainment City.
The three others are Travellers International Holdings Inc., a joint venture between Alliance Global Group Inc. and Genting Hong Kong; Bloomberry Resorts Corp. of businessman Enrique Razon Jr.; and Premium Leisure and Amusement Inc. of Belle Corp.
Go, meanwhile, said the company would continue to expand its budget hotel business in the country with the opening of three units next year.
Robinsons Land currently runs five hotels under the Go-Hotels brands, all located near the company’s shopping malls.
Go cited a a big market for the hotel business in the Philippines due to increased tourist arrivals. In addition, more local tourists are traveling in several key cities in the country.
Go said reservation for the company’s residential projects grew 80 percent in the first two months of its fiscal year ending September, after the company reorganized the marketing department.
Robinsons Land fiscal year starts October and ends September.

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