Riskwise says political risk deterred Mactan investors

Riskwise Global Capital said the perceived political risk in the Philippines had deterred potential investors in a $1.4 billion project to build an integrated resort in Mactan.

“As with many foreign companies who had been working feverishly to undertake projects in the Philippines during 2016, we have experienced investor backlash as a result of political and social issues,” CEO Michael Foxman wrote in a letter to the Philippine Stock Exchange. “These issues now having settled down, will enable us to re-navigate foreign investor sentiment with the view that we can conclude our business aspirations, as initially planned, however, late. It’s unfortunate however a reality that we must work through.”

He said the company is “working diligently” to create a commitment with another group that may wish to participate.

The Mactan Leisure City project, which was being undertaken along with the Philippines’ Calata Corp, Sino-American Gaming Investment and Macau Resources Group, had been scheduled to begin construction in January this year, with completion scheduled for 2020.

The group estimates that it is about nine months behind schedule, though notes that it is also working with Calata on other projects in other sites, including in the capital Manila.

Foxman said the company is hoping to formalize its agreement with new investors in May or June.

“Due to the nature of the PAGCOR license, we will wait until our joint venture partner has joined our group formally, at which time we will undertake all licensing and permitting,” he wrote.

The 14-hectare casino resort on Mactan Island, Cebu, was scheduled to incorporate 3 luxury hotels, an entertainment complex featuring a full-scale casino, and retail shopping.

Calata said in a regulatory filing last year that Mactan Leisure City will “generate tens of thousands of employment opportunities” and is expected to have a gross revenue of about P55.74 billion yearly.

Populist President Rodrigo Duterte took power in June, threatening to stamp out drug trafficking and corruption. The resulting bloodshed has been widely criticized by human rights groups and by former U.S. President Barack Obama.