Landing International Development Ltd says it has been granted an extension by Philippines gaming regulator PAGCOR to the deadline for finding new land on which to develop a planned integrated resort in Manila’s Entertainment City.
The company, whose original 50-year lease for a parcel of land located between Okada Manila and Solaire was cancelled following intervention from Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte in August 2018, was last year given 180 days from 10 September 2019 to find new land or have its provisional gaming license revoked.
That early March 2020 deadline has now come and gone, but Landing said in its 1H20 results announcement on Friday that PAGCOR had extended the deadline as a result of COVID-19.
“Due to the lockdown and travel restriction in the Philippines, the Group has faced difficulties in identifying another lease of land as required by PAGCOR for the development of an integrated resort the Philippines,” the company explained.
“However, the Group has been granted a suspension by PAGCOR of the prescribed period provided under Article VI, paragraph (a) of the provisional license recently, under which the Group is allowed to have further time to submit a remedy for the provisional license.”
Landing announced in July 2018 that it had been granted a provisional license by PAGCOR to develop an integrated resort with a casino, with the US$1.5 billion project slated to include a two or three storey casino, luxury hotel, indoor waterpark, cultural theme park, movie theme park and world-class convention center.
After signing a land lease with Nayon Pilipino Foundation (NPF) – the government’s culture and tourism arm – Landing held a groundbreaking ceremony on 7 August 2018 but in a bizarre turn of events it was revealed on the same afternoon that President Duterte had fired the entire NPF board, citing what was described as a “grossly disadvantageous” 50-year land lease deal.
The company later promised to find a new site for its development.
News of Landing’s ongoing pursuit of a Philippines IR comes on the back of a HK$792.2 million loss for the six months to 30 June 2020 – impacted by reduced visitation to its South Korea resort, Jeju Shinhwa World amidst COVID-19.
There was improved performance by the company’s gaming business, however, with Landing Casino reporting a 26.6% year-on-year increase in gaming revenue to HK$101.1 million and a reduced loss of HK$71.0 million, down from HK$212.3 million.
With declines being felt in Landing’s non-gaming segments, the company said it has suspended development of large scale expansion projects at Jeju Shinhwa World, such as Four Seasons Resorts and Lionsgate Movie World, to preserve liquidity.