Casino investor Summit Ascent Holdings Ltd reported first-half adjusted property earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of HKD17.2 million (US$2.2 million), compared to a negative figure of HKD22.1 million a year earlier. The first-half 2021 EBITDA figure was up 131 percent versus the second half of 2020, said the company in a Tuesday release.
The Hong Kong-listed company, chaired by Macau junket promoter Alvin Chau Cheok Wa, is one of the backers of the Tigre de Cristal casino resort (pictured) in the Russian Far East.
The firm reported a loss of HKD131,000 for the first six months this year, compared to a HKD47.0-million loss in the first half of 2020. Tigre de Cristal suspended its gaming operations for about three months in the first half of 2020, as a countermeasure against Covid-19.
Summit Ascent said it saw an “initial recovery” in its business in year-on-year terms, as aggregate revenue for the reporting period rose by 34.9 percent, to nearly HKD129.5 million.
The firm reported gross gaming revenue (GGR) of HKD139.1 million for the six months to June 30, up 9.4 percent from the prior-year period. That was despite zero revenue in the VIP segment during the first six months of 2021, “due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” stated the company.
But GGR in the mass-table segment grew by nearly 92.0 percent year-on-year, to HKD68.5 million; and slot-machine revenue rose by 70.2 percent, to HKD70.6 million. Such growth was supported by demand in the domestic market, said Summit Ascent.
The release quoted Summit Ascent’s chairman Mr Chau as saying: “Thanks to the solid local Russian demand, Tigre de Cristal continued to generate positive EBITDA in the first half of 2021, even surpassing that of the second half 2020 by 1.3 times.”
In Tuesday’s release, Summit Ascent said the “upgrade” to Tigre de Cristal’s first phase had been completed. It included a Suncity Premium Club, a new private club, and a hotpot restaurant. Such facilities were to be “fully utilised” once travel restrictions are relaxed, stated the firm.
Separately, Summit Ascent said that planning and construction for phase two of Tigre de Cristal were “well underway,” despite “minor delays” caused by the pandemic.
The firm is targeting the launch of the second phase of the complex in 2023. It said the expansion will triple the number of existing rooms and double Tigre de Cristal’s gaming capacity.
Hong Kong-listed Suncity Group Holdings Ltd – headed by Mr Chau – is the controlling shareholder of Summit Ascent. Suncity Group Holdings holds approximately 69.66 percent of Summit Ascent.
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