Australian casino operator Star Entertainment Group Ltd reported full-year net profit after tax up 14.9 percent on the prior-year period. The firm said in a Friday filing that the numbers for the year ended June 30 were supported by “good revenue growth across all lines of business”.
Group net profit after tax for the reporting period was AUD194.4 million (US$148.3 million). Total earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased by 7.5 percent year-on-year to AUD488.8 million, the firm said.
Star Entertainment, which owns and operates The Star Sydney casino hotel, Jupiters Gold Coast (pictured) and the Treasury casino in Brisbane, reported gross revenue of AUD2.36 billion in the financial year to June 30, up by 4.4 percent year-on-year.
The company said it recorded “good growth” across the domestic gaming business, particularly at The Star Sydney. The firm reported domestic gaming revenue of AUD1.51 billion, an increase of 6.8 percent from the prior-year period.
The turnover at the firm’s “international VIP rebate” business across its three current properties rose 7.0 percent in the full-year, reaching AUD49.5 billion. Its win rate on international VIP gambling business was 1.20 percent, lower than the 1.27 percent achieved in the year-prior period and also below the normalised rate of 1.35 percent.
International VIP gambling gross revenue was AUD596 million, up by 1.3 percent year-on-year.
Star Entertainment had previously said it has been targeting growth in its rolling chip business among Chinese customers and other tourists from Asia.
The casino operator signed a junket arrangement with Hong Kong-listed junket investor Jimei International Entertainment Group Ltd, whereby Jimei International said it would promote “not less” than six gaming tables within the casino at The Star Sydney.
“Financial year 2016 has been another year of earnings growth, improved performance and increased dividends for our shareholders,” said Star Entertainment chairman, John O’Neill, in a statement accompanying the results.
Star Entertainment said on Friday it would lift its capital investment for the current financial year to at least AUD375 million and possibly up to AUD425 million. That excludes an expected AUD120 million in equity contributions in relation to the firm’s Queen’s Wharf development, in Brisbane, Queensland.
The casino operator has joined forces with Hong Kong-based Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Ltd for the AUD2-billion casino resort. The collaboration – Destination Brisbane Consortium – also includes Far East Consortium (Australia) Pty Ltd, a unit of Hong Kong-listed Far East Consortium International Ltd. The capital expenditure will be split 50:50 between Star Entertainment and its two outside partners.
Star Entertainment and its Hong Kong partners are also investing in other projects, including the AUD1 billion expansion of The Star Sydney. The Australian company is investing a total of AUD667 million in the expansion project, which will feature about 1,000 hotel rooms (including a Ritz Carlton) and residences, and new gaming facilities.
Star Entertainment has plans to expand the Jupiters Gold Coast property. A new tower – which will bring total capacity to 1,400 rooms – will be developed jointly by the casino operator and Chow Tai Fook Enterprises and Far East Consortium.
The total investment for the expansion of the Jupiters Gold Coast property is estimated at about AUD845 million, with Start Entertainment contributing with AUD578 million, said the casino firm.
Matt Bekier, managing director and chief executive of Star Entertainment, said the firm’s capital investment plans would impact revenues and earnings in financial year 2017, “although [the] impact [is] expected to reduce in the second half”.
Star Entertainment declared a final dividend of AUD0.075 cents per share for the financial year ended June 30, up 25 percent on the previous year.
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"The Hong Kong protests may hurt Macau gross gaming revenue by about mid-single-digit (i.e., half of maximum visitation exposure), which should fade away gradually as people will find alternative ways to visit Macau”
DS Kim, Jeremy An and Christine Wang
Analysts at brokerage JP Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) Ltd