Universal Entertainment sells $600M bonds for Okada’s Manila Bay Resorts

TAGs: Jasmine Solana, Kazuo Okada, Manila, Manila Bay Resorts, Philippines, Universal Entertainment

Universal Entertainment sells $600M bonds for Okada’s Manila Bay ResortsFor those who have spare change, Kazuo Okada has an offer you can’t refuse.

The Japanese gaming mogul’s Universal Entertainment Corporation is selling $600 million worth of bonds to fund Okada’s Philippine venture, the Manila Bay Resorts.

The offshore corporate notes, which are due on 2020, were listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange last Aug. 24. The bonds have a yield of 12 percent per annum.

“The notes will be quoted and traded in United States Dollars (US$). The noted will be in denomination of US$250,000
and multiples of US$1 in excess thereof. The notes will be traded in minimum trading board lot size of US$250,000,” the company said in a filing with the Singapore Stock Exchange.

Deutsche Bank will serve as lead manager and book runner for the transaction.

Media outlet Philippine Star reported that proceeds from the bonds will go to the construction of Manila Bay Resorts, as well as in the refinancing of existing short-term debt.

Universal, through its affiliate Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment Inc., is building the $2-billion casino resort at the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) Entertainment City in Manila.

Okada has partnered with businessman Antonio Cojuangco for the casino project. Cojuangco, a cousin of Philippine President Benigno Aquino Jr., is taking a 40 percent stake in Eagle II Holdings, which Universal sold earlier this year. Local laws limit international companies from owning more than 40 percent of the land on which their projects are construction.

Last July, Okada and Cojuangco led a topping off ceremony ahead of Manila Bay Resorts’ opening in December 2016. Cojuangco announced that they are already eyeing the next phase of construction for the resort’s non-gaming portion, which will include hotels, high-rise apartments, office towers, and even an opera house. The non-gaming amenities will cover 30 hectares of the total Manila Bay Resorts land.

The 44-hectare casino project had already faced delays that prompted Philippine regulators to slap Universal with a $2.2 million fine. In addition, the Japanese billionaire also had to find a new local partner after its original agreement with real estate developer Century Properties Group fell through earlier this year.

The resort’s first phase will feature 500 gaming tables and 3,000 slot machines, in addition to 1,000 rooms in two hotel towers. It will also have nightclubs, retail and dining options, an indoor beach resort and a dancing water fountain.

Once it opens, Manila Bay Resorts will join the two Entertainment City projects—Bloomberry Resorts’ Solaire Resort and Casino, and Melco Crown Entertainment’s City of Dreams Manila—that are already in operation. The fourth project, Genting Group and Alliance Global Group’s Resorts World Bayshore, is set to open in 2018.


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