Okada Manila Parent Company Abandons Emerald Bay Acquisition Plans

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Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment Inc. (TRLEI), the parent entity of the renowned Okada Manila, announced on Tuesday that it will abandon its plans for acquiring a stalled project situated in Cebu, dubbed Emerald Bay. The project, previously envisioned to be the crown jewel of the Philippines’ Entertainment City, has now been jettisoned by the TRLEI and cast into an uncertain future.

The termination comes six months after the preliminary takeover agreement was inked in December. However, the dream of TRLEI to steer Emerald Bay towards completion by 2026, with magnificent features including two 15-story hotel towers coupled with 642 guestrooms, 18 high-end bars, and restaurants, retail spaces, conference rooms, and a sprawling casino boasting 700 slot machines and 140 live dealer table games — is no longer on the enterprise’s table.

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In a carefully worded release, company representatives stated that they have informed the PH Resorts Group about the termination of their potential business alliance. The groundwork of their agreement was perforated with unfulfilled closing conditions, preventing certain terms under the blueprint from being executed, leading to their ultimate decision to withdraw.

While specific details remain shrouded due to encapsulating confidentiality agreements, the dichotomy between the initial enthusiasm for the venture and the dissolution of the agreement leaves industry observers puzzled.

Emerald Bay’s journey towards completion has been marred by a series of unfortunate hurdles. In 2017, the concept of Emerald Bay was first presented by PH Resorts, a subsidiary of Udenna Corporation — a mega conglomerate brainchild of Filipino magnate Dennis Uy. Envisioned as a top-tier development under PH Resorts’ umbrella, the property extends over six pristine beachfront acres in Cebu’s premium Punta Engano area.

Though Uy’s significant financial clout, amassed from his inherited oil and gas company and diversified investments across sectors like shipping, logistics, hospitality, and gaming, was expected to streamline the project’s success, Emerald Bay has continued to lie unfinished. Echoing this hiccough, TRLEI is not the first enterprise to back out from the takeover of the project; Bloomberry Resorts, the operator of Manila’s Entertainment City’s Solaire, rescinded its plans in March 2023.

With both Bloomberry and TRLEI walking away, Emerald Bay’s destiny now faces an ambiguous trajectory. The past year saw PH Resorts, a publicly traded enterprise, report an operating loss of PHP1.81 billion ($31 million). Doubts about the completion of the Emerald Bay project now loom larger than ever.

At the company’s recent earnings call, PH Resorts officials mentioned an ongoing fundraising initiative in a bid to inject life back into the beleaguered project. However, they admitted the existence of “material uncertainty” regarding the group’s ability to raise capital, whether through stock sales or financial loans — an uncertainty that’s largely driven by the downgrading of the firm’s primary lender, China Banking Group, by Fitch Ratings.

Thus, as the emerald green waves continue to lap against the unfinished and solemn structures of Emerald Bay, its future remains swathed in a concerning mist of uncertainty.