The Philippines’ Century Properties Group has asked a local court to prevent Kazuo Okada’s Universal Entertainment from terminating their agreement to jointly develop a US billion casino complex in the Entertainment City resort district on Manila Bay.
Century said it also sent a notice of dispute to Tokyo-based Universal and its Philippine subsidiaries challenging the validity of the termination, which Universal ordered after a second local partner, First Paramount Holdings 888, withdrew from the venture.
The partnerships were designed to resolve charges that Universal had sought to evade compliance with laws restricting foreign ownership of land to no more than 40 percent. In 2012, the Philippine Justice Department issued a legal opinion indicating the ownership structure of Eagle I Landholdings, Universal’s local affiliate, breached those laws because Aruze USA, Universal’s U.S.-based machine gaming supplier, effectively held 64 percent of Eagle I in the form of direct and indirect stakes.
Century agreed to acquire 36 percent of Eagle I as part of a deal that calls for Century to develop five hectares of the Entertainment City site. First Paramount agreed to buy 24 percent of Eagle I.
In contesting the termination, Century said First Paramount’s withdrawal does not nullify its deal because an alternative partnership with another qualified Filipino company could be negotiated. The company alleges that Universal wanted changes in the agreement that would have eliminated its exclusive rights to the luxury commercial and residential portions of the project.
Construction, meanwhile, is reported to be proceeding swiftly at the site, known as Manila Bay Resorts, but the government says Okada and his companies need to resolve their various issues if they want to retain the license there.