By Arra B. Francia, Senior Reporter

DAVAO-BASED businessman Dennis A. Uy’s PH Resorts Group Holdings, Inc. targets to raise funds through a combination of debt and equity within the next two to three months to fund its casino projects in Cebu and Pampanga worth about $850 million.

PH Resorts President Raymundo Martin M. Escalona said they will have to raise capital to fund its $600-million integrated resort and casino project in Mactan, Cebu called The Emerald, as well as a $250-million casino in Clark, Pampanga.

“The debt portion will be raised at the project level…then PH Resorts will be the one to raise the corresponding equity that will go to each of the subsidiaries,” Mr. Escalona told reporters before the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting in Pampanga yesterday.

Mr. Escalona said they have a syndicated term loan that has already been assigned to China Banking Corp. for the debt portion.

PH Resorts will follow the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.’s (PAGCOR) 70% to 30% ratio of debt to equity in financing casino projects, but Mr. Escalona said they have yet to decide if they will raise more through equity.

The listed company earlier postponed its plan to sell about P12 billion worth of shares through the Philippine Stock Exchange, saying that it saw more strategically suitable alternative options for its funding requirements.

“The intention of PH Resorts is to really go to the market. We have the option until the end of 2020, depending on the market situation,” Mr. Escalona said.

At the same time, the company during its annual shareholders meeting approved the increase in its authorized capital stock to P15 billion divided into 15 billion common shares, from P8 billion. This gives the company more space to issue more shares in the future.

PH Resorts started the construction of The Emerald back in December 2017, and is set to be completed by the end of 2020.

The Mactan project will allocate 7,585 square meters (sq.m.) in aggregate gaming floor area for its first phase, in addition to a five-star hotel with 838 rooms, a retail complex, a convention center, and restaurants. The second phase will feature 9,400 sq.m. of gaming space, another five-star hotel with 1,300 rooms, food and beverage outlets, and retail areas.

Meanwhile, the Clark project will feature a casino catering to the mass gaming market, and hotel with 2,000 rooms.

Mr. Escalona said they are “very optimistic” for the casino business in the Philippines, especially since all of their projects are near airports.

“If you look at growth rate of the GGR (gross gaming revenues) in the Philippines in the last seven years, it’s above 20%. That will continue to grow to help tourism,” he said.

Shares in PH Resorts jumped 8.15% or 34 centavos to close at P4.51 each at the stock exchange on Thursday.