PH RESORTS GROUP HOLDINGS, Inc., the gaming and hospitality firm of businessman Dennis A. Uy, has gained regulatory approval to do a follow-on offering of P1.125-billion common shares.

In a statement on Tuesday, PH Resorts said it was given the pre-effective approval by the Securities and Exchange Commission to generate funds through the offering of shares to the public.

The company said in a disclosure in June that its intends to offer up to 450 million common shares.

Proceeds from the follow-on offering will support the company’s resort project in Mactan, Cebu, the Emerald Bay casino and hotel, which it targets to partially open next year.

“This is another milestone on the way to completing Emerald Bay and continuing on our journey to further put the Philippines on the regional and international gaming map,” Mr. Uy, chairman of PH Resorts, said in the statement.

The company has tapped Unicapital, Inc. and Abacus Capital and Investment Corp. as lead and co-lead underwriters for the offering, respectively.

Emerald Bay is PH Resorts’ flagship project, which will have a total of 146 gaming tables, 729 electronic gaming machines, 780 hotel room bays and five villas.

The project will have two phases, with the first phase—involving 122 gaming tables, 600 electronic gaming machines and 270 hotel room bays—scheduled to open by the second quarter of 2022. The company’s goal, however, is to do a soft opening by the end of 2021.

“Despite the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic, we are confident that the Philippine tourism and gaming industry will be on the road to recovery when Emerald Bay opens,” Mr. Uy said.

However, because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to the tourism sector, Equity Trader Aniceto K. Pangan from Diversified Securities, Inc. said prospects for PH Resorts’ follow-on offering may be dim.

“With the current situation of the spread of the virus at its high, the prospects for tourism, as well as gaming sectors, will continue to be negative at this stage. Thus, any follow-on offering will not be attractive for investors, especially with this pandemic crisis,” he said in a text message.

Tourist destinations such as resorts are required to remain under limited operations while under the lightest form of lockdown, or the modified general community quarantine.

PH Resorts booked an attributable net loss of P277.07 million in the first semester, widening from P169.15 million a year ago, due to the temporary closure of its Panglao resort triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

Shares in the company closed at P2.19 apiece on Tuesday, up three centavos or 1.39% from the last session. — Denise A. Valdez