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Okada talks over — Robinsons

By Jenniffer B. Austria | Posted on May. 30, 2013 at 12:02am
[ manilastandardtoday.com ]
Robinsons Land Corp., the property unit of business tycoon John Gokongwei, said Wednesday it has ended talks with Kazuo Okada’s Universal Entertainment Corp. over a $1-billion gaming and leisure project in the country.
“Upon mutual agreement, Robinsons Land Corp. and Universal Entertainment Group have decided not to pursue discussions between them concerning the proposed development located in the Pagcor Entertainment City Project,” Robinsons Land said in a disclosure to the stock exchange. It did not cite reasons for ending the talks.
Robinsons Land in December said it signed a preliminary agreement with Universal Entertainment for the project. The two parties in January agreed to extend the negotiations.
Robinsons Land under the initial agreement would acquire a minority interest in Okada-led Tiger Resorts Leisure and Entertainment, which will operate the casino and hotel project called Manila Bay Resorts.
Robinsons Land was to acquire a majority stake in Eagle I Land Holdings Inc., the landowner of the project.
The 44-hectare Manila Bay Resorts is envisioned to be a world-class casino resort complex that will boast luxurious hotels, classy restaurants, commercial facilities, hotels, residences, Vegas-style water fountains and an enormous indoor pool with real sand beach covered by a huge glass dome.
The casino project, which was scheduled to open by 2014, would contain three hotels with a total of 2,000 rooms. The gaming component of the project covers 30,000 square meters of space, offering 3,000 slot machines and 500 gaming tables.
Jomar Lacson, research head of Campos Lanuza & Co., said the recent change in tax regulation involving licensees of Pagcor might have affected the talks between Robinsons Land and the Okada group.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue said in a directive April 17 that the income of Pagcor as well as contractees and licensees were subject to the payment of a 30-percent income tax on net taxable income, instead of the 5-percent franchise tax on  gross gaming revenue.
Lacson said Okada, who is facing criminal investigation in the US related to his Philippine casino project, would have to look for another Filipino partner before he could push through with the casino project.
The Japanese billionaire, who amassed a fortune selling machines for Japanese pachinko parlors, won one of four provisional gaming licenses awarded for the Manila casino hub in 2008
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