Hong Kong-listed gaming investor Success Universe Group Ltd said profit attributable to its owners rose more than fourfold in 2014. It was a dramatic turnaround from the first half of the year. In August the firm had warned of a possible 35 percent fall in after-tax profit for the six months to June 30.
Success Universe said the improvement was mainly due to better performance in the group’s mainland China lottery business and at its Macau casino resort venture Ponte 16 (pictured), which operates under an SJM Holdings Ltd gaming licence. There was also a gain from the disposal in August, to a third party, of a casino cruise ship business.
Profit for the owners of Success Universe leapt to HKD96.9 million (US$12.5 million), a 420 percent improvement on the HKD18.6 million achieved in 2013.
Shared profit of the associates relating to the casino resort operation at Ponte 16 was approximately HKD88.1 million, a 73 percent rise on the approximately HKD51.0 million achieved in 2013.
The company noted that the 2.6 percent gaming revenue decline seen in Macau market wide in 2014 had come despite a near 14 percent growth year-on-year in the total number of visitors to Macau from mainland China.
“In virtue of the acceleration of the structural change, Ponte 16…implemented effective strategies to capture the growing mass market,” said the firm. It said new amenities included a Cantonese restaurant and an online travel magazine for customers.
It claimed such measures had helped the resort outperform the market. The company reported a 19 percent improvement in adjusted earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) at Ponte 16, to HKD461.0 million, compared to HKD387.3 million in the year-prior period.
Success Universe added that the development of the group’s new China welfare lottery service platform is expected to be completed in the first half of 2015. “With solid foundation and experience in sports lottery, the group is optimistic that its upcoming welfare lottery business will generate positive contributions in the near future,” said the firm.
The company has a sports lottery sales agency services network covering Jiangxi, Qinghai and Heilongjiang provinces in China. In 2014, the group expanded into the welfare lottery market to provide the telephone agency sales services in Shanghai and Tianjin in China.
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Teo Chun Ching
Chief executive of Singapore’s Gambling Regulatory Authority