Macau casino operator SJM Holdings Ltd on Tuesday posted a 5.6 percent fall in full-year 2016 net profit. The company said such profit was HKD2.33 billion (US$300.2 million), compared to HKD2.47 billion a year earlier.
The casino firm recorded annual adjusted earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of HKD3.42 billion in 2016, a decrease of 11.5 percent from the previous year.
Gambling revenue for the year fell by 14.5 percent to HKD41.3 billion, SJM Holdings said in a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
VIP gaming revenue slumped by 20.5 percent year-on-year, to HKD19.93 billion in 2016; mass table gaming revenue was down by 8.7 percent to HKD20.44 billion. Slot machine and other gaming revenues also posted a slight annual decline.
SJM Holdings’ flagship Grand Lisboa casino hotel (pictured) showed a decline in revenue and profitability during the year. The property reported a 14 percent year-on-year decrease in revenue in 2016 to HKD14.06 billion. Adjusted property EBITDA fell by 18.2 percent year-on-year, to HKD1.76 billion.
The firm’s 14 satellite – i.e., third party-promoted – casinos generated annual gaming revenue of HKD21.39 billion, down 16 percent from 2015. Profit attributable to SJM Holdings from those operations amounted to HKD757 million last year, a year-on-year increase of 18.3 percent.
Revised Cotai budget
On Tuesday, SJM Holdings said construction work for its new casino resort, located in Macau’s Cotai district, “made substantial progress in 2016”. The firm said it currently expects construction of Grand Lisboa Palace to be completed “around the end of 2017, for opening in the first half of 2018”.
But the company announced that the Cotai scheme had now an estimated total project cost of approximately HKD36 billion. SJM Holdings previously mentioned an investment of HKD30 billion to build the property. The company did not provide an explanation for the revised budget for Grand Lisboa Palace.
SJM Holdings said that its capital commitments in connection with the Grand Lisboa Palace project amounted to a total value of HKD21.2 billion as of the end of last year.
The company confirmed it had arranged syndicated bank facilities of HKD25 billion to finance the construction costs of Grand Lisboa Palace. The firm said on Tuesday that it is currently seeking the “required approval” of the Macau government on the matter, and expected to conclude the arrangements related to the financing “in early 2017”.
Ambrose So Shu Fai, SJM Holdings’ chief executive, said in a statement: “Although certain economic challenges for Macau’s casino gaming market continued throughout most of 2016, SJM enters 2017 in a strong position.”
He added: “We have achieved substantial progress on construction of our Grand Lisboa Palace, on schedule, and we will soon open the Jai Alai Hotel to complete our entertainment complex at Oceanus at Jai Alai.”
The casino operator confirmed on Tuesday that it had reopened the Casino Jai Alai in the Macau peninsula – with a total of 35 gaming tables – in December 2016. The hotel, with 132 rooms, plus restaurants and retail shops are due to open later in 2017, the firm said.
The company board proposed a final dividend of HKD0.18 cents per share. Together with an interim dividend of HKD0.06 cents per share paid in September 2016, total dividends for 2016 would amount to HKD0.24 cents per share, said SJM Holdings.
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"VIP growth [in Macau] is roaring back on the heels of last year’s economic stimulus – but we think this could stall once the effect of the stimulus and the Chinese housing bubble wears off – as it did in 2013-14"
Cameron McKnight and Robert Shore
Analysts at Wells Fargo Securities