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HK-based group obtains stake in Manila Jockey Club

Posted on January 18, 2013 07:47:17 PM [ BusinessWorld Online ]
A HONG-KONG-BASED investment group has subscribed a 33% stake in Manila Jockey Club, Inc. affiliate MJC Investments Corp., giving the listed company capital to pursue its first project, a proposed tourism complex in Manila, MJC Investments said in a statement on Friday.
"MJC Investments, whose business focus is in the hotel, tourism and leisure sectors, today [Jan. 17] approved at a special meeting of its board of directors, the subscription to common shares of MJC Investments with a lock-up period of two years by a Hong Kong consortium through its Philippine corporations," the statement read.
The Hong Kong consortium, which holds a global investment portfolio, is led by Cheah Teik Seng, managing director of Kuala Lumpur-based financial services firm ECM Libra Financial Group Bhd, MJC Investments said.
Manila Jockey Club, MJC Investments’ parent, will maintain control of MJC Investments following the investment, which is worth P450 million, the statement added.
"The Hong Kong consortium brings a unique level of world-class, global experience and expertise to MJC Investment’s business and further empowers our ambition to emerge as significant player in the Philippines’ rapidly growing tourism industry," Alfonso R. Reyno, Jr., MJC Investments chairman and chief executive officer, said in the statement.
Proceeds from the Hong Kong group’s investment will be earmarked for the development of MJC Investments’ maiden project in Manila.
"The transaction provides MJC Investments with the resources to undertake the construction of its first project, a five-star hotel, tourism and entertainment hub located on a 7,500-square meter site at the San Lazaro Tourism and Business Park in Sta. Cruz, Manila, which is already home to a high-end residential condominium project (Celadon Park) jointly developed by Ayala Land, Inc. and MJC Investments, and the SM (City) San Lazaro mall," the statement read.
Upon completion, MJC Investments’ tourism and entertainment hub is expected to have 160 suites, a 1,000-person capacity ballroom, over 5,000 square meters of themed event spaces, and over 1,000 parking spaces. The project is under construction and targeted to start full operations by 2015.
Meanwhile, trading of MJC Investments’ shares were halted from 9 to 10 a.m. on Friday in line with bourse rules on the issuance of new voting shares "amounting to at least 10% but not more than 35% of the total issued and outstanding capital stock of the issuer," MJC Investments said in a separate disclosure on Friday.
MJC Investments 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 eventually to a tourism and leisure firm in 2009.
The company widened its nine-month net loss last year by 1,074.68% to P18.09 million from P1.54 million in 2011 on the back of a surge in costs.
Interest and other income from January to September rose by 20.00% to P1.26 million from P1.05 million the year previous, while costs and expenses went up by 647.49% to P19.36 million versus P2.59 million, year on year, largely due to project construction costs.
Shares of MJC Investments fell by 10 centavos or 1.40% to P7.05 on Friday from P7.15 last Thursday. -- Franz Jonathan G. dela Fuente        
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