PH Resorts in talks with potential investors

Iris Gonzales - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — PH Resorts Group Holdings Inc., the listed gaming and tourism holding company of Davao-based businessman Dennis Uy’s Udenna Group,  is in talks with one foreign and one local investor to help the company open its flagship Emerald Bay integrated resort in Cebu at the soonest possible time.

Talks are already in the final stages, said PH Resorts president and CEO Raymundo Martin Escalona, who assured shareholders that the company would make the necessary disclosures at the appropriate time.

Ports and casino tycoon Enrique Razon was supposed to partner with Uy for PH Resorts’  Emerald Bay project and its  other casino in Clark but the deal did not materialize.

Located in Mactan, Cebu, Emerald Bay is envisioned to be the premier integrated resort in the Visayas-Mindanao region. It will have a total of 146 gaming tables and 729 electronic gaming machines (EGMs) as well as 780 hotel room bays and five villas.

Escalona said PH Resorts remains hopeful for the future despite still incurring losses.

“We have faced many challenges before but we will succeed – we have already seen some good indicators that make us see a positive future,” he said.

The company, under the leadership of Uy, held its 2023 annual shareholders’ meeting Wednesday.

Eight of the nine members of the board of directors were reelected with the addition of Raouf Kizilbash as the ninth member of the board. Kizilbash is also a director of Dito CME.

Escalona reported that while 2022 continued to be a challenging time for the company, there were some bright spots that PH Resorts will focus on to maintain positive momentum.

Among these were the reopening of the Donatela Resort & Sanctuary in Bohol last December as well as having advanced discussions with other parties in monetizing some assets that are currently not generating any cash flows.

PH Resorts also wanted to sell some of its assets but the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) denied the company’s request to include the asset sale in the agenda of the stockholders meeting. The SEC said the asset sale was not part of the agenda submitted to the SEC last May.

SyCip Gorres Velayo & Co. (SGV), PH Resorts’ auditing firm has already sounded the alarm on the listed hospitality company’s ability to continue operating.

In a report contained in a recent filing by PH Resorts, SGV said PH Resorts had incurred a net loss of P801.9 million in 2022 and P153 million in 2021, resulting in a deficit of P1.1 billion and P337.5 million as of end-2022 and end-2021, respectively.

SGV said this was a material uncertainty as this put the company’s current liabilities in excess of its assets by P2 billion at end 2022 alone and a negative operating cash flow of P67.3 million.

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