Okada Manila Mulling Philippines IPO

Estimated read time 3 min read

Okada Manila, the Philippine casino resort controlled by Japan’s Universal Entertainment, is reportedly mulling an initial public offering that values the entity at $500 million to $750 million.

The Okada Manila integrated resort. Parent company Universal Entertainment is consider taking taking the casino operator public in an IPO valued at up to $750 million. (Image: Reuters)

Should Universal Entertainment proceed with those plans, it could list shares of the casino operator on the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) at some point next year. Two unidentified sources with knowledge of the matter told Insider PH that Okada Manila is considering listing shares in its home country and that it’s hired BDO Capital & Investment Corp. and CLSA to run the transaction.

A second source said Okada Manila initially planned to list in the latter part of 2024 but this was pushed back due to uncertain market conditions and ongoing talks for Universal Entertainment to refinance $760 million in obligations maturing in December,” reports Insider PH.

Should Okada Manila proceed with a PSE listing, it’d become the third operator of a local casino to list on the bourse joining Solaire Resort and City of Dreams Manila.

Okada Manila Rejuvenating IPO Plans

Rumors of the Okada Manila IPO come after the company’s failed combination with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) 26 Capital that would have seen the Philippine gaming company listed in New York on the Nasdaq.

Last September, following a lengthy legal battle between the two sides, the Delaware Court of Chancery ruled Okada Manila wasn’t obligated to proceed with a merger agreement that was originally reached in October 2021. That accord value the casino operator at $2.6 million, or more than triple the top end of the range it could seek in a Manila IPO.

Billionaire Kazuo Okada has stood in the way of that happening. He even attempted to seize control of the integrated resort in May 2022 using 50 private security guards and members of the Paranaque City Police. By February 2023, 26 Capital was suing Universal Entertainment and affiliates linked to the casino resort, alleging they were intentionally dragging their feet on merger talks.

Through its Tiger Resort Leisure & Entertainment Inc. affiliate, Universal also owns a majority stake in the Emerald Bay casino project in Cebu, but it’s not yet clear if that on-hold project would be included in the Okada Manila IPO.

Time Could Be Right for Okada Manila IPO

Okada Manila could be validated in resuscitating IPO plans for a simple reason: it’s profitable. In 2023, the venue’s operating surged 280% while revenue increased 35.1%.

“The number of visitors increased throughout 2023 and the volume of business increased in all categories,” according to a regulatory filing issued by Universal.

While Okada Manila’s first-quarter results were pinched by a pullback among its VIP clients, the overall outlook for the Philippine casino gaming industry is bright and it’s viewed as one of the better Asia-Pacific growth opportunities beyond Macau and Singapore.

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