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Okada Manila records positive results, says new management

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CASINO-HOTEL complex Okada Manila has posted a positive business performance since the group led by the side of Japanese tycoon Kazuo Okada has taken the helm amid the ongoing ownership issue, the lawyer of its new management said.

“Okada Manila has seen an upward business trajectory under the current management. Among other things, visitation has increased and hotel occupancy has reached 99%. Food and beverage outlets are also doing very well,” the Okada side’s legal counsel Norman T. Golez said during a media round table in Parañaque City on Monday.

It was the first press conference held by the current management since it took the helm of Okada Manila on May 31.

Okada Manila said in a separate statement that its June property traffic is on the uptrend and is 74% of 2019 levels.

“With average daily foot traffic increasing by 8% month on month, customers can now better enjoy their stay at Okada Manila as more stores are being opened and more services being offered for Okada Manila’s growing clientele,” it said.

Further, Okada Manila said that 33 permanent tenants have already been operational as of May, with 11 more tenants expected to open by August.

“Gross gaming revenues posted an all-time high this year of 44% ahead of budget (target), 4% ahead of June 2019. Year-to-date hotel and room revenues have posted an increase of 6% and 8% respectively, higher [than] during the same period in 2019. Food and beverage cash revenues have also been up 14.5% compared to the same period in 2019,” Okada Manila said.

“With the economy and borders opening up, Okada Manila is expected to sustain the momentum and become the fastest-growing integrated resort in Entertainment City,” it said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Golez reiterated that Mr. Okada’s side peacefully took over Okada Manila on May 31, when the former management led by Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment, Inc. (TRLEI) was ousted.

Mr. Okada’s side previously said that its takeover of the casino-hotel establishment is provided under the status quo ante order (SQAO) issued by the Supreme Court in April. Mr. Okada was ousted in 2017 due to alleged misuse of funds.

“The SQAO is effective immediately, and continuing until further orders from the Supreme Court. To date, there is no order from the Supreme Court reversing or nullifying the SQAO,” Mr. Golez said.

According to Mr. Okada’s side, the SQAO determined Mr. Okada as the lone representative of Tiger Resort Asia Ltd. (TRAL), which is the parent firm of Okada Manila’s previous operator TRLEI.

Following the management change, TRLEI officials filed criminal complaints against Mr. Okada, Antonio O. Cojuangco, and Dindo A. Espeleta, among others, citing the alleged “forceful takeover” of Okada Manila.

Sought for comment, TRAL said in a statement that Okada Manila’s current growth is driven by the recovery plan that the TRLEI board developed.

“The claim that they drove up Okada Manila’s revenues — from gaming, hotel bookings, food and beverage sales, and daily visits — is absurd and without factual basis. To claim that the Kazuo Group’s one-month seizure of Okada Manila magically resulted in significant growth in the company’s revenues is just plain and blatant falsehood,” TRAL said.

“Even before the easing of pandemic restrictions, the legitimate board of TRLEI led by Byron Yip has already crafted a recovery and sustainability program that will allow Okada Manila to grow and flourish after suffering from the adverse effects of the community quarantines,” it added.

Further, TRAL insisted that there was a “violent takeover” during the change in Okada Manila’s management to the side of Mr. Okada.

“We would also like to highlight that there was no formal turnover of the management of Okada Manila to the Kazuo Group. But there was in fact, a violent takeover. Video evidence and testimonies show the brute force used on the legitimate board to illegally take over Okada Manila,” TRAL said.

“TRAL abhors the violent acts of the Kazuo Group and strongly condemns their attempt to divert the issue. We would like to reiterate to the public that any claim from the Kazuo Group is not reflective of our position as the owners of integrated casino resort Okada Manila. TRAL does not recognize Kazuo and his cohorts Mr. Cojuangco and Mr. Espeleta, among many others, as officers of Okada Manila’s operator TRLEI,” it added. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

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