Philippine businessman Dennis Uy has just gotten approval from the local Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to have one of his publicly traded companies engage in casino operations.
According to a filing with the Philippine Stock Exchange, Uy’s Philippine H2O Ventures Corp., which he bought a 62% stake in last March, will be changing its name to PH Resorts Group Holdings, Inc. Its articles of incorporation will also be amended to list the company’s primary purpose as pertaining to “the hotel and/or gaming and entertainment business.” Authorized capital stock has also been raised from PHP500 million ($9.5 million) to PHP8 billion ($152 million).
The changes had previously been approved by a majority of shareholders in June.
Uy, with his Udenna Development Corp., has invested $341 million for the construction of the Emerald Resort and Casino in Lapu-Lapu City, Mactan Island in Cebu province, a project greenlit by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) last year, prior to a directive from President Rodrigo Duterte to no longer accept applications for new casinos, on concerns that the local industry was getting congested.
Udenna is also allocating $5 billion over a span of 10 years for a business district in Clark Global City, located in the Clark Freeport Zone north of Manila.
While PH Resorts Group continues with its plans, other operators have not been so lucky. In August, Hong Kong-listed Landing International Development Limited saw the cancellation of its lease contract for a casino resort in Pasay, Metro Manila, after the assessed value of the property was deemed too low.
PAGCOR has looked outside of Metro Manila, particularly in Visayas, for growth of the industry. Duterte, however, has instructed the state regulator not to allow Galaxy Entertainment Group from Hong Kong to push through with its $500-million resort project in Boracay Island, even with the company having received its license to operate back in March.
The last couple of months have been good to Uy, whose businesses also include shipping, oil, retail, and education. The SEC just approved a merger between his 2Go Group Inc. and the Negros Navigation Co. Inc. And last month, Uy’s consortium with China Telecom received provisional rights to create a telecommunications company, only the third one in the Philippines, where internet services remain one of the slowest and most expensive in the region.