Suncity Group Holdings Ltd says the hotel rooms at the Hoiana casino resort scheme in Vietnam “will be rolled out in phases according to the demand of the market,” amid the impact of Covid-19. The information, including the first gross gaming revenue (GGR) data for the scheme, was included in the company’s interim report filed on Friday to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
A preview of Hoiana operations, including its casino, started on June 28. The company had previously noted that a full opening of the property was due to take place in 2021.
Suncity Group Holdings, controlled by Macau junket boss Alvin Chau Cheok Wa, is involved in either casino-project investments or provision of casino resort services in multiple markets in Asia, including the Philippines, Vietnam and Russia.
The group reported a loss attributable to shareholders of nearly CNY118.6 million (US$17.3 million) for the first half of 2020, down from CNY1.25 billion a year earlier. The first-half 2019 result had been impacted by a CNY1.07-billion impairment related to a change in fair value of derivative financial instruments.
Group-wide revenue for the six months to June 30 fell by 69.5 percent year-on-year to just above CNY93.7 million, as the group’s operations were “hindered” by the pandemic and related travel restrictions, it said.
The Suncity brand is one of the investors in Vietnam’s Hoiana casino scheme, and the group’s listed company is to manage casino operations there, according to previous filings.
In Friday’s filing, the company said it had received “positive” initial feedback from guests at Hoiana. The scheme recorded negative GGR of US$1.5 million for the first three days of operations in June, but “positive GGR in both July and August,” stated Suncity Group Holdings.
The company said that Hoaina’s original marketing and promotional plans had been affected by Covid-19, with the group “temporarily” shifting its aim from international tourists to foreign passport holders in its domestic market.
“Given current market situation, hotel rooms will be rolled out in phases according to the demand of the market to balance cost and benefits,” it added.
The group also said that renovation works at the Tigre de Cristal casino resort (pictured) in the Russian Far East had resumed. Hong Kong-listed Summit Ascent Holdings Ltd, the lead promoter of the scheme, reported last week a first-half loss of HKD47 million (US$6.1 million).
Suncity Group Holdings is the largest shareholder of Summit Ascent. The firm is in the process of increasing its stake in the latter company.
Suncity Group Holdings is also involved in the development of a casino resort project in the Philippine capital, Manila. The firm said in its results announcement release that piling works for the project “restarted in June 2020,” and that the main casino hotel was expected to be launched by 2023.
In a letter included in a separate release on Friday, Mr Chau said that Suncity Group Holdings remained “well-funded” amid the pandemic, adding that he was personally funding the group because he “believed in the long-term development of Suncity.”
The company announced a fortnight ago that Mr Chau was exchanging a series of shareholder loans to the company – amounting in aggregate to HKD3.88 billion – for a set of “perpetual securities”.
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