Philippines’ Stalled Emerald Bay Casino May Have Found a New Backer

Posted on: October 4, 2023, 07:48h. 

Last updated on: October 4, 2023, 11:37h.

PH Resorts Group Holdings, a prominent gaming firm in the Philippines, has had a difficult journey in developing its latest property in the country. However, that may be changing, as it recently inked a nonbinding agreement with AppleOne Properties, marking a significant step forward in revitalizing the stalled Emerald Bay integrated resort (IR) in Cebu.

An aerial view of the Cebu Island area of the Philippines
An aerial view of the Cebu Island area of the Philippines. A long-delayed integrated resort on the island may be close to securing new funding. (Image: Shutterstock)

The Emerald Bay project, which has faced setbacks leading to questions about its development, is now poised for a potential revival with the infusion of investment from AppleOne. The company would have the option to invest funds to acquire either a majority of the equity interest in the subsidiaries associated with Emerald Bay, or to secure some or all of the assets comprising the IR and its associated land.

The undisclosed amount earmarked for investment is expected to inject much-needed capital into the project, provided the investment reaches the finish line. It would allow for the resumption of construction and the realization of the project’s potential as a premier IR in the Philippines.

Cebu Gets Back on Track

If successful, Emerald Bay, which has been struggling to become a reality for the past six years, could appear alongside Nustar as one of two IRs in Cebu. It would further solidify the region’s position as a destination for world-class entertainment and leisure.

Cebu was previously on track to be the go-to destination in the Philippines, with plans to offer a number of different hospitality options. Former President Rodrigo Duterte blocked those plans when he was in office. But a resurgence is now coming.

While the specific details of the investment remain confidential, stakeholders are optimistic that the partnership will contribute to the realization of the IR’s full potential. It would create a positive impact on the local economy and establish it as a significant player in the flourishing gaming and entertainment landscape in Cebu.

The first step is to make sure the investment stays intact. Then, PH Resorts, which almost secured financing from Enrique Razon, Jr.’s Bloomberry Resorts, expects to open a gaming facility with 729 gaming machines and 146 tables in the first phase. Along with that, Emerald Bay would provide 780 hotel rooms and five villas.

PH Resorts Continues Restructuring

To facilitate the potential investment and the future of the Emerald Bay project, PH Resorts has had to jump through a lot of hoops. Two of its subsidiaries, Lapulapu Leisure, Inc. and Lapulapu Land Corp., are negotiating with AppleOne as they simultaneously seek to restructure other financial aspects of the property.

Among these is an outstanding debt China Banking Corp. holds. The subsidiaries have completed this exercise, which has resulted in sale/leaseback agreements for the properties.

That clears up some of the debt PH Resorts has been sitting on for the past five years, and could possibly free resources the company can use to continue Emerald Bay’s development.

The company didn’t specify how much the new agreements are worth, but said the deal carries a buyback clause, which will allow the subsidiaries to buy out the agreements if everything goes well.