Hong Kong-listed Suncity Group Holdings Ltd says the first phase of Hoiana casino resort – being built in Hoi An in the central Vietnamese province of Quang Nam – might only be completed in the first half of 2020. The company had said in May it expected the initial phase of the property to be ready by the fourth quarter of 2019.
“Phase one is currently under development and is expected to be completed between the fourth quarter of 2019 and the first quarter of 2020,” Suncity Group Holdings said in its interim results announcement, filed on Thursday to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The firm added: “[Phase one] will include more than 1,000 hotel rooms, a casino with 140 gaming tables and over 300 slot machines, as well as a golf course.”
In August 2018, Suncity Group Holdings bought the entire equity interest in Star Admiral Ltd, a firm that indirectly owns about 34 percent of the Hoiana casino resort. Suncity Group Holdings announced earlier this year it had been selected to manage casino and food and beverage operations at Hoiana.
The Hoiana project is expected to comprise a total of seven phases to be developed over a span of 13 years, according to previous company information.
Suncity Group Holdings also controls a nearly 30-percent stake in Summit Ascent Holdings Ltd, the promoter of Russian casino resort Tigre de Cristal.
The Suncity brand is best known for supplying high-value Chinese casino gamblers to the Asian market, but the listed company Suncity Group Holdings – which does not include any profit streams from Macau gambling junkets in its filed accounts – has been increasing its gaming investments into markets beyond Greater China. That is both in terms of new-build resorts such as Hoiana in Vietnam; and in terms of deals to manage third-party-controlled properties under development in other markets, such as in Cambodia.
The Suncity junket brand was mentioned recently in Australian media reports alleging that VIP gambling operations at Australian casino operator Crown Resorts Ltd had been infiltrated by criminals for the purposes of money laundering. The Suncity junket brand has strongly denied any wrongdoing.
The company has however confirmed to GGRAsia last week that it was closing for commercial reasons a VIP operation it had run at Crown Melbourne, in the Australian state of Victoria. It also close its fixes operation at The Star Sydney casino resort, in Sydney, run by Australia-listed the Star Entertainment Group Ltd.
First half loss reduced
Suncity Group Holdings said it made a loss of more than CNY1.25 billion (US$175.5 million) for the first half of the year, compared to a nearly CNY1.65-billion loss in the prior-year period.
Suncity Group Holdings told the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Thursday that its annual revenue declined by one third in year-on-year terms in the six months ended June 30 to approximately CNY307.0 million.
The board recommended no final dividend for the first half of 2019. In the first six months of 2018, the company also did not pay a dividend.
In its financial review of the first half of 2019, Suncity Group Holdings said the decrease in revenue was mainly attributable to a decline in revenue from the property development segment.
Suncity Group Holdings told the Hong Kong bourse in its Thursday filing: “The group aims to build an integrated tourism related platform with equity investments in integrated resorts as well as a tourism-related service provider to integrated resorts within the Asian region.”
The company made reference in its filing to a memorandum of understanding with Paradise Co Ltd signed earlier this year on the possible cooperation in Paradise Casino Busan. “We believe that the cooperation can enable both parties to create a synergy and develop its own strengths, resources and expertise,” said Suncity Group Holdings.
There have been no further details via filings regarding the South Korean collaboration that was announced to the stock exchange in February.
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"I think for our property [Grand Lisboa Palace], looking at breaking-even and stabilisation, will take… 12 months or so, or less”
Daisy Ho Chiu Fung
Chairman of Macau casino operator SJM Holdings