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Philippines – Universal looking to float Okada Manila on US stock exchange

By - 15 February 2021

Universal Entertainment Corporation, the powerhouse behind Manila’s integrated casino resort Okada Manila, has confirmed it is ‘formally examining the listing of the operating company under the company’s Integrated Resort (IR) Business, which the company has developed in the Philippines, on either the US NASDAQ Stock Exchange or the New York Stock Exchange with the use of a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC).

The company said: “Since the company commenced the partial operation of its IR Business in the Philippines in December 2016, the performance of that business has steadily grown. In fiscal 2020, the company operated the business under extremely limited conditions due to the spreading of COVID-19. During that time, however, the Company deployed a number of measures for the purpose of bolstering its earnings power, including reducing fixed expenses and reinforcing marketing, which were areas of concern. The Company expects that many of the expense reductions achieved in fiscal 2020 will be retained after operations return to normal following the containment of COVID-19, which will benefit future margins.

“In view of this situation, having positioned its IR Business as the core business of the company, the company recently arrived at the decision to pursue a detailed examination of the listing of that business on either the US NASDAQ Stock Exchange or the New York Stock Exchange with the aim of realising the further expansion of that business and greater corporate group value.”

“The company has already executed advisory agreements with multiple financial advisory firms in Japan and the US in order to prepare for the listing of its IR Business on the NASDAQ Stock Exchange or the New York Stock Exchange, and is currently engaged in the selection of a SPAC, the investigation of aspects involving the law and tax systems, the revision of the capital structure of the Company Group as a whole, etc. with the aim of listing the business sometime in fiscal 2021,” it added.

The overall company reported a consolidated loss of JPY19.22bn (US$183m) in 2020, with increases in pachinko negated by the closures to Okada Manila.

Net sales fell by 61.2 per cent to US$264m. Casinos were closed for almost six months before they were allowed to reopen at 30 per cent of capacity on September 9. Okada Manila generated a loss of US$86m for the year.

“Marketing efforts made by Okada Manila have been adjusted to reflect these constraints. Nevertheless, the impact of COVID-19 has not ended,” the operator said.

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