By Revin Mikhael D. Ochave, Reporter

THE partnership of listed gaming and tourism holding company PH Resorts Group Holdings, Inc. with Okada Manila’s operator could become a possible mode of backdoor listing, according to analysts.

BDO Capital and Investment Corp. President Eduardo V. Francisco said in a Viber message that the move could be Okada’s opening for a backdoor listing in the local market. 

“PH Resorts can be [an] effective back-door [listing] vehicle for Okada,” Mr. Francisco said.

“We need to know the terms of the acquisition but it should also relieve Mr. Uy of pressure if Okada will absorb existing debts of PH Resorts,” he added, referring to Dennis A. Uy, chairman of PH Resorts. 

China Bank Capital Corp. Managing Director Juan Paolo E. Colet said in a Viber message that the partnership could be seen as Okada’s move to expand its presence in the Philippines.   

“For Okada, it’s an expansion play. They already have a presence in Metro Manila, so they now want to break into a new geographic market,” Mr. Colet said.

“Nothing is final yet as the deal is still subject to conditions,” he added. 

Gabriel U. Lim, BDO Unibank, Inc. head of corporate finance, said in a Viber message said the transaction, if concluded, would be “a positive for both parties” while providing a vehicle for listing Okada Manila.

He added that the market listing would offer two sites in major Philippine cities “for investors to benefit from.”

Mr. Lim added that the transaction would provide “some financial relief” for the budget of the unfinished Cebu project.

Recently, Okada Manila’s operator Tiger Resort Leisure & Entertainment Inc. (TRLEI) announced that it entered into a tentative agreement with Lapulapu Leisure, Inc. and Lapulapu Land Corp., for an exclusive partnership to complete Emerald Bay Resort. 

Lapulapu Leisure and Lapulapu Land are subsidiaries of PH Travel and Leisure Holdings Corp., which is a unit of PH Resorts. 

TRLEI executed a term sheet on Dec. 8 with PH Travel and Leisure to acquire a “significant majority ownership” of the subsidiaries as operators of the Emerald Bay project, allowing it to take over the development.

“The terms and conditions of the transaction will be further disclosed once the parties have executed the definitive agreements, which are subject to negotiation and execution and are targeted to finish by July 2024, unless otherwise extended,” PH Resorts said. 

PH Resorts previously said its partnership with Okada Manila for the Emerald Bay Resort in Mactan, Cebu would boost the Visayas tourism market.

“In PH Resorts’ partnership with Okada Manila, we hope to turn Emerald Bay Resort into a symbol for, and a catalyst of, the development of Cebu as the center of the Visayan tourism market in the Philippines,” said PH Resorts Chairman Mr. Uy in a stock exchange disclosure on Monday. 

Emerald Bay is a proposed integrated resort with a five-star hotel adjacent to 300 meters of beachfront, with two 15-storey towers offering 642 rooms, four pools, 18 food and beverage outlets, retail spaces, conference and exhibition facilities, and a large-scale gaming floor with over 700 electronic gaming machines and over 140 tables.

“This new venture is aligned with our strategy to increase our footprint in the Philippines, given our remarkable success with Okada Manila. We are excited to bring our signature level of hospitality and service excellence to a new and discerning market,” TRLEI President and Chief Operating Officer Byron Yip said. 

Shares of PH Resorts at the local bourse fell 14 centavos or 12.73% to 96 centavos apiece.