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Chinabank takes ownership of Emerald Bay, but grants PH Resorts units possession, buyback option

An artist's perspective of The Emerald Bay Resort and Casino

PH Resorts Group Holdings, Inc., the gaming and hospitality unit of Dennis Uy’s Udenna Group, said its subsidiaries have turned over ownership of a casino resort project on Mactan Island to China Banking Corp. under a debt restructuring agreement, but retained possession of the property and were granted the option to reacquire it.

The restructuring, which was done through the execution of sale and leaseback agreements with a buyback option, covers the 12.5-hectare property being developed into The Emerald Bay Resort and Casino and the improvements, PH Resorts said in a disclosure Monday, Oct. 2, 2023.

PH Resorts also said its subsidiaries Lapulapu Leisure, Inc., Emerald Bay developer, and Lapulapu Land Corp. were in talks with potential majority investor AppleOne Properties, Inc.

The restructuring and negotiations with AppleOne were announced roughly four months after Bloomberry Resorts Corp., which operates Solaire Resort & Casino through subsidiaries, withdrew its offer to invest in Lapulapu Leisure.

Read related story: Solaire owner Bloomberry drops plan to invest in Mactan gaming resort

The company said Lapulapu Leisure and Lapulapu Land signed a non-exclusive and non-binding memorandum of understanding with AppleOne, a Cebu-based developer founded by Ray and Venus Manigsaca, for the latter to acquire a possible majority interest in the former companies or make an asset purchase of the land and improvements of the Emerald Bay project.

Negotiations are expected to be completed within 60 days, PH Resorts said.

The company also disclosed that the restructuring agreement reached with Chinabank allowed its subsidiaries to repay the peso bridge loan facility extended by the bank in 2018 and granted them continued possession and use of the property to allow the completion of the Emerald Bay project.

The buyback option was granted to the subsidiaries or its nominees, PH Resorts added.

The Emerald Bay casino project was envisioned to provide a total gaming floor area of about 7,000 square meters, a five-star hotel with over 800 rooms, a retail complex, a convention center, and 18 restaurants.

The project was granted fiscal incentives by the Board of Investments in 2019. (MVI/Ventures Cebu)

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