Dennis Uy-led firm shifting to resorts and gaming business

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By Victor V. Saulon, Sub-Editor

THE shareholders of Philippine H2O Ventures Corp. have approved on Monday the change in the company’s name to PH Resorts Group Holdings, Inc., paving the way for its shift to the resorts and gaming businesses.

“Philippine H2O Ventures Corp. is now under new management as the newest member of the Udenna group of companies,” Raymundo Martin M. Escalona, president of PH Resorts, said during the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting yesterday at Seda Hotel Vertis North in Quezon City.

The company, which has completed divesting its water business, will also raise its authorized capital stock to P5 billion from P500 million, as well as change its business address, and increase the number of directors to nine from seven. All moves have been approved by stockholders.

Mr. Escalona told reporters the company currently has four projects under development — a casino in Mactan and Clark, and two hotels in Davao and Bohol. PH Resorts has two casino licenses, he added.

The minimum spending for the Mactan casino is $300 million, while Clark requires $200 million, he said.

“As promised PAGCOR (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.), Mactan I think we’re given… until 2022 [to complete]. For Clark, I think 2023, but we’ll see if we can do it earlier,” Mr. Escalona said.

The new hotel in Davao will be run in partnership with sister company Enderun Colleges. Construction is expected to start this year, and will be completed within three years.

“Davao is a joint undertaking with Enderun. Enderun is our education part. They will have two floors there, but it will be a hotel, parang (sort of) events center,” Mr. Escalona said.

For the Bohol project, the company is expanding an existing resort in Panglao.

“We are scaling that up. We’ll look at plans depending on how much those plans will result to, we’ll see if we can finish it earlier,” Mr. Escalona said.

Udenna, the holding firm for businessman Dennis A. Uy’s business interests,

completed its entry in H2O on June 1. It named Mr. Uy as its new chairman after the departure of the previous members of the board of directors.

Mr. Uy’s entry came after Udenna’s tender offer to buy 37.994% of the company’s issued and outstanding shares. No shareholders tendered their shares after the tender offer period on May 29.

The common shares — totaling 92,416,614 — represent the remaining shares in H2O that are not part of the 62.006% bought by Udenna from the sellers, which are the company’s parent firm Jolliville Holdings Corp. and its subsidiaries and related parties.

Mr. Uy, who is the founder and chairman of Udenna, said the Clark casino project is in the design stage.

“It’s at least around 400-500 rooms. It’s an integrated resort,” he said.

Mr. Uy said PH Resorts would allow the Udenna “to take advantage of the many opportunities in the tourism sector; create stronger synergies among our existing businesses, and make more meaningful contributions to the Philippine economy.”

On Monday, shares in H2O jumped 17.11% to close at P7.05 apiece.