Global casino investor Melco International Development Ltd says profit attributable to shareholders rose by 10.2 percent year-on-year, to nearly HKD522.6 million (US$66.6 million) for full-year 2018. Profit after tax for the reporting period – including income attributable to non-controlling interests – amounted to HKD1.60 billion, 50.6 percent higher than in 2017, the firm said in a Friday filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
The firm said factors in the improvement included “better performance” in all of the group’s gaming segments. But such improvement “was more than offset by higher commissions,” which the company said were being reported as a reduction of revenue as a result of the group’s adoption of a new revenue standard from January 1, 2018.
Melco International’s board recommend the payment of a final dividend – subject to approval by the firm’s shareholders – of HKD0.0235 per share, totalling approximately HKD35.7 million. The proposed dividend is expected to be paid on July 5.
Net revenues in the 12 months to December 31 were HKD40.7 billion, a slight decrease of 1.1 percent, compared to HKD41.2 billion in 2017.
Casino revenue in 2018 stood at about HKD35.2 billion, compared with nearly HKD38.4 billion the year before. In 2018, the company recorded nearly HKD657 million in commissions paid to gaming promoters and other gaming-related expenses.
The aggregate of Melco International’s trade receivables – typically associated with provision of credit for VIP gambling – for the 12 months to December 31 rose to approximately HKD1.90 billion, from HKD1.25 billion in 2017.
The company’s adjusted earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were HKD10.9 billion, representing an increase of 10.7 percent, compared to HKD9.8 billion for 2017.
Melco International is the parent of Macau and Philippines casino operator Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd, which saw the launch of its US$1.1-billion Morpheus hotel tower at City of Dreams Macau in June 2018. Melco Resorts reported in February its fourth-quarter and full-year results, and announced more details about the revamp of the group’s Macau properties.
Melco International also runs in its own right a temporary casino and two satellite venues in the Republic of Cyprus, prior to the launch of a major new venue there under a monopoly licence.
The Melco brand is also a suitor for a Japan casino licence after legalisation of such business by that country’s lawmakers last year.
Lawrence Ho Yau Lung, chairman of Melco International, said in a press release, commenting on the 2018 numbers: “Our long-term growth strategy for Macau remains to focus on the premium-mass and mass segments, which we believe will drive sustainable growth and profit for our industry.”
He added: “We will continue to invest in balancing our exposure to both VIP and mass gaming patrons and to further grow a diversified portfolio to attract the broader tourism market through our non-gaming entertainment and leisure offers.”
The CEO said also that the group remained “bullish” on its exposure to “an expanding network of global operations and business development opportunities” beyond Macau.
“Japan continues to be our core focus … we are very focused and dedicated to becoming an international integrated resort operator in the country,” said the executive in his prepared remarks.
Speaking to media last week, Mr Ho said he was upbeat about the group’s casino business for 2019.
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"There’s a huge amount of possibilities out there and in the case of Macau, it seems that some of these issues should be considered or we may lose the epithet of gambling capital of the world"
Macau-based lawyer and senior partner at law firm Rato, Ling, Lei and Cortés