Hong Kong-listed Asia Pioneer Entertainment Holdings Ltd said it expects its revenue this year from sales of electronic gaming equipment to be negatively affected – in common with the wider industry – by the current novel coronavirus emergency. But the group has pledged to continue expanding its existing consulting services and its electronic gaming equipment leasing segment for the year ahead.
The commentary was in the lookahead part of its 2019 annual report filed to the Hong Kong bourse on Monday. The group – listed on the Growth Enterprise Market - is involved in five business segments related to the bricks and mortar casino industry in Asia-Pacific. They are: technical sales and distribution of electronic gaming equipment; consultancy and technical services; repair and sales of electronic gaming equipment plus spare parts; sales of refurbished electronic gaming machines; and lease sales and operating leases in relation to electronic gaming equipment.
Although “Macau SAR casinos reopened in February 2020,” after a 15-day pause in an effort to stem local spread of the novel coronavirus, “the ongoing travel restrictions of China tourists into Macau SAR will have a significant negative impact on casino gaming revenue in 2020,” said the group in its annual report.
It added: “As the group’s customer base is mainly casinos in the Macau SAR, such impact on the group could result in a slowdown of sales revenues derived from the Macau SAR as our customers, the Macau casinos, may cut capital expenditures on electronic gaming equipment.”
But Asia Pioneer Entertainment said it would look to focus more on Southeast Asian markets in 2020, which presented a “quicker” growth opportunity. The group noted it had been in business discussions with a client on an operating leasing deal of electronic gaming equipment for a casino in the Philippines. The Hong Kong-listed group had also held talks about providing pre-opening consulting and technical services to a “planned new casino” in Vietnam.
In the home market of Macau, Asia Pioneer Entertainment said it looked forward to “new revenue opportunities” derived from three new casino openings “in the rest of 2020 or early 2021”. Those properties included the Cotai resorts “Grand Lisboa Palace”, promoted by SJM Holdings Ltd, and the “Londoner” Macao, a rebranding and refurbishment of the existing Sands Cotai Central resort of Sands China Ltd, the group highlighted.
“The management is confident to gain electronic gaming equipment sales” from those and another prospective venue “as the casino operators are already existing customers of the group,” Asia Pioneer Entertainment noted in its annual report.
For the fiscal year 2019, Asia Pioneer Entertainment recorded a net loss of HKD3.0 million (US$387,00), as compared to the group’s profit of HKD20.70 million booked in 2018.
Asia Pioneer Entertainment’s revenue in 2019 was HKD82.0 million, a decrease of 25.2 percent from the HKD109.6 million recorded in the previous year. A bulk of the 2019 revenue came from the technical sales and distribution of electronic gaming equipment – including the sale of spare parts – amounting to HKD75 million, according to the group’s annual report.
During 2019, Asia Pioneer Entertainment did not record any sales of refurbished electronic gaming machines; nor did it record any lease sales of electronic gaming equipment.
The group’s board did not recommend any final dividend for 2019.
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"One thing that is certain under the coronavirus era is that the biggest beneficiaries are the illegal operators, both bricks and mortar and online"
Partner and director overseeing government affairs at casino industry consultancy Global Market Advisors