Aug 21, 2014 Newsdesk Latest News, Macau, Top of the deck
Casino services company Macau Legend Development Ltd says the structure of its new Harbourview casino hotel at theme park Macau Fisherman’s Wharf will be “substantially completed” in the third quarter of 2014, with the opening “tentatively scheduled” for the fourth quarter.
The announcement was made on the firm’s interim results for the six months to June 30, released on Wednesday.
The Harbourview Hotel will not house a casino. The property will be connected to the existing Babylon Casino by a skywalk, a person working for the company, who requested not to be named, told GGRAsia in June.
Macau Legend – co-chaired by former Macau legislator David Chow Kam Fai – doesn’t have a Macau gaming licence in its own right, but instead piggybacks on that of SJM Holdings Ltd.
Nonetheless, Macau Legend has carved out a niche as a company with a range of gambling and tourism facilities concentrated in the city’s traditional casino district on Macau peninsula. They include operation of the 131-table Pharaoh’s Palace Casino inside the firm’s 439-room The Landmark Macau hotel, which recently had a renovation completed in January, and the 19-table Babylon Casino at Fisherman’s Wharf.
In the first half to June 30, Macau Legend’s profit was HKD226.4 million (US$29.2 million) – down HKD40.4 million or 15.1 percent year-on-year.
“The decrease was due to the inclusion of an unrealised exchange loss on bank fixed deposits denominated in renminbi of HKD73.9 million,” said a media statement issued separately from the filing.
Without that exchange loss, profit would have increased by 12.6 percent, said Macau Legend’s press statement.
Foundation work for a second new hotel at Fisherman’s Wharf – the Legend Palace Hotel – will be completed in two months, said the regulatory filing.
“We have applied for the licence for construction of the superstructure of this hotel and construction is expected to commence in the fourth quarter of this year,” added the company’s press statement.
It said that a planned dinosaur museum is being “redesigned to include fossil exhibits”.
It stated further that some projects currently at the design and planning stages are “being redesigned and revaluated to reduce construction costs and improve operational efficiencies”.
In January, Macau Legend – which in June last year had a global share sale grossing approximately HKD2.2 billion – said it had raised an additional HKD1.35 billion toward the cost of redevelopment at Fisherman’s Wharf (pictured in an artist rendering), by selling more shares.
The original Fisherman’s Wharf site had a troubled history. After opening to a gala concert performed by the violinist Vanessa Mae on December 31, 2005, the HKD2 billion waterside collection of shops, restaurants and themed architecture failed to draw crowds. At that time, SJM Holdings’ founder Stanley Ho Hung Sun had a 51 percent stake in the venture with Mr Chow on 49 percent. Since then the ownership structure has been revised, with the harbour side development now under the control of Macau Legend.
Phase one of an upgrade to a yacht marina at the site, including the installation of pontoons and jetties, “is expected to enable” berthing to start in late November, the firm said in its filing on Wednesday. It also plans a third new hotel at Fisherman’s Wharf, to be called the Legendale Hotel.
“With the opening of Harbourview Hotel at the Macau Fisherman’s Wharf later this year, we will be adding 444 rooms. The second and third new hotel projects will add another 700-plus rooms,” said Carl Tong Ka Wing, co-chairman of Macau Legend, in the press statement.
The press release also said the firm had entered into an agreement with casino equipment manufacturer Bally Technologies Inc to supply Macau Legend with casino management systems “for improving player connectivity, patron loyalty and yield management”. Implementation will be in phases, with the first to be installed and put into operation before the end of this year, the statement added.
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”[Macau casino] operators may want to remain prudent in not appearing to reward shareholders too early”
Head of Asia gaming and leisure research at JP Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific)