Universal Falls on Results Delay Amid Investigation

Universal Entertainment Corp. fell after the Japanese pachinko company postponed its earnings report amid an internal investigation of transactions in its Philippines business.

The stock fell as much 6.1 percent to 1,576 yen, before closing 0.2 percent lower at 1,675 yen in Tokyo. Universal will report on Feb. 14 instead of Feb. 8 after a third-party committee found the “possibility of inappropriate accounting procedures” related to the Philippines, according to a company statement yesterday.

The company controlled by billionaire Kazuo Okada holds one of four casino licenses the Philippines awarded in 2008 and 2009 to build and operate a Manila gambling and entertainment complex. Universal on Jan. 7 said that it formed an independent panel to look into reports by Reuters and Japan’s Asahi newspaper that the company made illegal payments to benefit that casino resort.

Universal filed a lawsuit Dec. 4 in Tokyo District Court against Thomson Reuters Corp., calling the newswire’s article about illegal payments a “fabrication” and seeking 200 million yen ($2.1 million) in damages.

Consultations with its independent accountant will take some time due to the suggestions from the committee, Universal said in yesterday’s statement. Okada amassed a fortune making machines for pachinko, an upright pinball game played as a form of gambling in Japan.

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