Philippine casino operator Bloomberry Resorts Corp saw a “flattish” start to 2020 regarding gaming volumes and a lower hotel occupancy rate, amid the Covid-19 virus alert, according to a note issued by the Nomura Group.
The institution said it was cutting by circa 16 percent on average its forecast for 2020 and 2021 earnings per share at Bloomberry, to “account for downside risks from Covid-19”.
That was a reference to the disease associated with the novel coronavirus outbreak first identified in Hubei province, mainland China, and which has since spread around the region and the globe, leading to a range of travel restrictions and headwinds for the tourism sector.
Enrique Razon, Bloomberry’s chairman and chief executive, had noted in commentary at the time of the firm’s fourth-quarter and full-year earnings being announced on March 4 that trading had “a rough start in 2020 as we contend with the tourism impact of an official world health emergency”.
Bloomberry runs the Solaire Resort and Casino (pictured) in Manila, the Philippine capital. It is also developing another resort – known as Solaire North – at Quezon City on the outskirts of the Metro Manila area. The firm also has an operation in South Korea.
The Nomura memo on Friday stated that on a March 5 call to discuss its earnings, Bloomberry management indicated January and February gross gaming revenues had been “flattish” – with the mass segment remaining “strong” but with VIP volumes “down, given travel restrictions”.
The note added: “The company also mentioned that it still has stranded Chinese and Korean patrons staying within the casino, with its hotel occupancy rate currently at around approximately 75 percent versus the usual 90 percent to 92 percent.”
The Nomura Group’s memo further observed regarding its revision on earnings per share this year and next: “Our new forecasts mainly reflect lower full-year 2020 volume growth assumptions for the VIP/mass (table and slots) segments.”
The note added: “While the Covid-19 outbreak poses limited near-term earnings visibility, we keep our constructive long-term view on Bloomberry.”
It further stated’: “We believe the company’s healthy fundamentals and sustained leadership position … in the Philippine gaming industry should help it recover swiftly once Covid-19 concerns dissipate.”
Fourth quarter net profit at Bloomberry rose 87 percent year-on-year, the firm had reported last week. For full-year 2019, net profit grew 38 percent.
On Friday Bloomberry declared a cash dividend of PHP0.25 (US$0.004937) per share to stockholders of record as of March 23, to be paid on March 31.
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