Gokongwei still interested in Pagcor City

By Lois Calderon, ABS-CBN News Channel

Posted at Aug 17 2012 11:05 AM | Updated as of Aug 18 2012 12:46 AM

MANILA, Philippines - After Henry Sy, Andrew Tan, Enrique Razon and Kazuo Okada, Pagcor City still has one more tycoon interested in joining its playground.

Lance Gokongwei tells ANC discussions with Japanese casino magnate have not collapsed even if Andrew Tan's Empire East claims to have won a deal to build luxury homes in Okada's strip in Pagcor City.

Gokongwei says he hopes to reach an agreement with Okada before the year ends.

The Gokongwei group first announced its plan to join Okada in early July.

But it has since kept mum about the talks after Empire East made its own announcement that it's spending P45 billion to build up to 25 residential towers for Okada.

It would be the Gokongwei group's first foray into the gaming industry.

John Gokongwei, Jr., the patriarch who built the empire that is now JG Summit, says he is giving his children a free hand in the talks.

"That is done by the second generation, Lance... I have nothing to do with that," he said.

JG Summit's business spans from beverages to snacks to airlines and real estate.

Big John, as Gokongwei Jr. is fondly called, says JG Summit is constantly looking for opportunities to expand its businesses.

Asked whether he finds wisdom in investing in Pagcor City, the older Gokongwei says he will have to see what his children have come up with.

"I have not been asked for advice but they will come sooner or later... When they come for advice, then I'll have to look at the feasibility studies ebfore I give any advice," he said.

Okada has a license to build a $2 billion casino and resort complex in Pagcor's Entertainment City. - ANC