Okada Manila posts ‘strong performance’ under Kazuo bloc, but TRAL slams ‘credit-grabbing’



Okada Manila, the $3.3-billion integrated resort and casino in Entertainment City, said on Monday it posted “even better than prepandemic figures” some six months after the group of Japanese casino magnate Kazuo Okada took over the management – a claim strongly disputed by the Tiger Resort Asia Ltd. (TRAL), the owner of 99.99 percent of shares in Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment Inc. (TRLEI).

The Kazuo faction said its gross gaming revenues posted an all-time high this year of 44 percent ahead of its target and 4 percent ahead of June 2019. 

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

Year-to-date, Okada Manila’s hotel and room revenues posted an increase of 6 percent and 8 percent, respectively, higher during the same period in 2019. 

Meanwhile, food and beverage cash revenues have also been up 14.5 percent compared to the same period in 2019.

“Gaming daily visits are up by 1 percent month on month, already registering 81 percent of 2019 levels,” the company said. 

The Kazuo group assured the employees that their welfare comes first with the timely release of salaries, bonuses and other benefits, the company said.

“The unexpected ousting of chairman Okada in 2017 created an unnecessary pause to the plans and efforts that he started. But his reinstatement has once again revived his vision and plans to make Okada Manila the most prestigious integrated resort in the Philippines,” the group said. 

The Kazuo group took over the casino operations from Tiger Resorts Leisure and Entertainment Inc. in late May.

The group said Okada Manila’s June property traffic is on the uptrend and is 74 percent of 2019 levels. 

“With average daily foot traffic increasing by 8 percent 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. 

Okada said his immediate plan is to re-open the property’s iconic fountain, which he said was neglected by the previous operator. The fountain will be re opened on Sunday. 

‘Credit-grabbing’

TRAL, however, described, in a statement late Monday, as plain credit-grabbing the Kazuo group’s claims.

 “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. The growth that Okada Manila is experiencing today is driven largely by the strong recovery plan that the legitimate TRLEI board developed and is influenced by the pentup demand for travel and leisure activities,” TRAL pointed out.

“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. 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,” TRTAL said

The initiative, TRAL added, includes the True Clean, True Safe, True Heart (3T) Campaign, a safety program that TRLEI set in motion in 2020. “The campaign reinforced Okada Manila’s commitment to providing guests with clean, safe, and excellent service even during the pandemic, resulting in a substantial increase in occupancy rates after the 2020 hard lockdown. For the 3T Campaign, TRLEI earned the International Association of Business Communicators Quill Award in 2021 and the Hotel Sales and Marketing Association award in 2022. This campaign was also integral in earning the Forbes Travel Guide and Sharecare VERIFIED stamp, Department of Tourism (DOT) safety seal, and the WTTC Safe Travels Stamp.”

The plan “also includes the resumption of the operations of Okada Manila’s retail tenants as well as the addition of new merchants to expand its offerings to guests. The legitimate board of TRLEI also rolled out the casino marketing strategy that has led to Okada Manila’s strong gross gaming revenue growth despite the limitations brought by the pandemic. Now that we are at a more comfortable space into the pandemic, almost all of the businesses in the leisure, entertainment, gaming, and tourism expect an upswing in booking requests, revenues, and visits owing to the revenge travel phenomenon.”

TRAL stressed that what happened was not a turnover, but a “violent takeover.” It added, “video evidence and testimonies show the brute force used on the legitimate board to illegally take over Okada Manila. Cases of kidnapping, serious illegal detention, physical injuries, grave coercion, and unjust vexation have been filed before the Philippine Department of Justice (DOJ) against Kazuo Okada and four others.

Image credits: BusinessMirror file photo



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