Debt-burdened PH Resorts Group of Duterte crony Dennis Uy has further delayed the opening of its Emerald Bay casino hotel resort to the first quarter of 2023 as it continues to look for creditors to finish its Mactan, Cebu project.
Emerald Bay, which started construction in 2017 or a year after President Rodrigo Duterte took office, is 40.77 percent complete as of September 30 from 39.8 percent as of April 30, 2021. The casino resort was originally set for opening in the second quarter of 2022 or before Duterte ends his term.
The delayed opening came two weeks after Uy voluntarily suspended PH Resorts’ casino project in Clark Freeport Zone due to “ lingering uncertainties surrounding the casino gaming industry especially with more competition in the Clark, Pampanga location.”
Uy has budgeted $704 million to build Emerald – $238.6 million for Phase 1 and $465 million for Phase 2 from 2023 to 2027. Uy has already tapped a P5.2 billion ($104 million) and $15 million. PH Resorts said that it would borrow up to 70 percent or $492 million to bankroll the project
“This is within the acceptable debt-to-equity ratio for a project of this size in this industry and is also acceptable with the provisional license issued by PAGCOR (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.) which requires a maximum of 70 percent to 30 percent debt-to-equity ratio,” said PH Resorts.
In its report to the Philippine Stock Exchange on October 19, PH Resorts revealed that it was still in the middle of “ongoing negotiations with its lenders for the conversion of a bridge loan to a long-term project loan, availment of an additional long-term loan, deferral of principal and interest payments and testing of a subsidiary’s debt to equity ratio.“
PH Resorts earlier revealed China Banking Corp gave it until 14 September 2021 (after two previous extensions) to settle or negotiate its due loans worth P5.92 billion.
The company had already spent the P756 million it raised from a follow-on offering in November 2020 and P600 million from a private placement in August this year.
Despite its mounting cash and problems, PH Resorts assured investors the “the company expects to meet its operating assets and liabilities, capital expenditure and investment requirements for the next 12 months.”