Malaysian casino operator Genting Malaysia Bhd saw its fourth-quarter profit rise nearly 400 percent, despite generating slightly lower revenue in the period.
Such profit was nearly MYR1.69 billion (US$380.2 million), compared to MYR338.6 million in the prior-year period. Revenue for the three months to December 31 slipped 0.4 percent, to MYR2.28 billion, from MYR2.29 billon in the prior-year period.
Genting Malaysia said fourth-quarter net profit “improved significantly” due to disposal of shares in Genting Hong Kong Ltd, a related company under the umbrella of the Malaysian conglomerate Genting Bhd. Genting Hong Kong runs casino cruise ships in the Asia Pacific region.
Genting Malaysia recorded a one-off gain of MYR1.27 billion on the share transaction – an exercise flagged to investors in May 2015 as a way of raising money for improvement work on the firm’s Resorts World Genting property. The gain was recorded in Genting Malaysia’s fourth-quarter and full-year earnings, filed with Bursa Malaysia on Thursday.
“Full-year headline net profit was… above our/consensus estimates,” said a Thursday note from analysts Tushar Mohata and Alpa Aggarwal of Japanese brokerage Nomura.
“Genting Malaysia also surprised with a special dividend [of MYR0.073], bringing total dividend per share to MYR0.165 per share for full year 2016, implying a trailing yield of 3 percent,” added Nomura.
Genting Malaysia has invested heavily in a revamp of its Resorts World Genting casino complex – Malaysia’s only casino resort. The firm also runs casinos in the United States, the Bahamas and the United Kingdom.
Quarterly adjusted earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) grew by 43 percent year-on-year, to MYR743.6 million, from MYR521.3 million.
The firm said that despite a “challenging operating environment,” fourth-quarter business had also seen higher volume and lower operating costs relating to “mid- to premium players”.
Full-year profit rose 129 percent year-on-year, to MYR2.88 billion, from MYR1.26 billion a year earlier.
The company said Resorts World Genting welcomed 20.2 million visitors in 2016, which it said was “an encouraging” 4 percent growth from last year. Day-trippers made up approximately 71 percent of the total visitor arrivals, with the remaining 29 percent being the hotel guests. The occupancy rate at the site’s hotels stood at 93 percent in 2016, according to Thursday’s filing.
The casino operator said it multi-phase revamp for the resort – known as the Genting Integrated Tourism Plan, or GITP – had “seen great progress in 2016”.
It added: “The new Awana SkyWay cable car system, which is located at the mid-hill, commenced operations in December 2016. Visitors can now travel up to the hilltop in approximately 10 minutes.”
Genting Malaysia said the initial phase of the resort’s SkyAvenue lifestyle mall also started operations in December 2016.
“All the new offerings under GITP have been well received by visitors since they opened,” added the firm.
It gave no information on a possible opening date for 20th Century Fox World Malaysia, a theme park planned for the resort. A Nomura note on February 10 mentioned “early 2018”. The firm had previously given guidance of “late 2017”.
Genting Malaysia’s parent Genting Bhd – which also has Singapore casino operator Genting Singapore Plc under its umbrella – reported fourth-quarter and full-year profit up 237 percent year-on-year and 55 percent respectively, to MYR1.14 billion and MYR2.15 billion.
Genting Bhd also declared a special single-tier dividend of MYR0.065 per ordinary share.
“Genting [Bhd] surprised with a special dividend… as we assumed that Genting [Bhd] will conserve cash for its Las Vegas capital expenditure,” said Nomura in a separate note on Thursday. The brokerage was referring to the Resorts World Las Vegas scheme, a Chinese-themed casino resort proposed for the Nevada gaming hub, and which broke ground in May 2015.
Nomura added, regarding Genting Bhd’s special dividend: “This brought total dividend per share to MYR0.125 for full-year 2016, implying trailing yield of 1.4 percent.”
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