Suncity Group Holdings Ltd says it made a loss of almost CNY1.46 billion (US$217.34 million) last year, sliding into the red after reporting a CNY197-million profit in 2017.
Suncity Group Holdings nonetheless told the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Friday that its annual revenue grew by 45.5 percent in the year ended December 31 to CNY792.6 million, up from CNY497.8 million in 2017.
The board recommended no final dividend for 2018. In 2017, the company did not pay a dividend.
In its financial review of the past 12 months, Suncity Group Holdings said reasons for the consolidated loss included: a widening loss on investments in derivative financial instruments totalling about CNY859.7 million; an exchange loss of CNY181 million incurred last year, compared to an exchange gain of CNY41.7 million made in 2017. The group also said there had been a reversal – during the reporting period – of two, one-time provisions from 2017: about CNY438-million worth of deposits and a CNY289.2-million litigation fund.
The company stated its growth in annual revenue was due mainly to an increase in sales of property and the continued growth in sales of travel-related products and services, and the provision of hotel and integrated resort general consultancy services.
The listed entity is controlled by Alvin Chau Cheok Wa, who is also the boss of Suncity Group, a privately-owned investor in gambling junkets to Macau. The junket brand is said by investment analysts to be the biggest-single investor in junket room operations in the Macau market. The listed firm does not count among its assets any profit streams from Macau junkets.
Suncity Group Holdings offers hotel and casino resort consultancy services to developments in Vietnam and Cambodia promoted by third parties. Those resorts are still under construction.
Additionally, last August, the company bought the entire equity interest in Star Admiral Ltd, which indirectly owns about 34 percent of the Hoiana casino resort being built in Hoi An in the central Vietnamese province of Quang Nam. The property will have more than 1,000 hotel rooms, 140 gaming tables and more than 300 slot machines when the first phase is finished later this year.
Suncity Group Holdings told the Hong Kong bourse in its Friday filing: “The group will continue to diversify its businesses to tourism-related real estate in Asian countries and grasp opportunities on the provision for hotel and integrated resort general consultancy services. A memorandum of understanding with Paradise Co Ltd was signed earlier on the possible co-operation in Paradise Casino Busan.”
There have been no further details via filings regarding the South Korean collaboration that was announced to the stock exchange in February.
Suncity Group Holdings said in its Friday results filing, by way of explanation of its business strategy for Busan in South Korea and other neighbouring jurisdictions: “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.”
In October, Suncity Group Holdings said its casino and gambling businesses in Vietnam and Cambodia would not break Hong Kong laws. In an announcement to the stock exchange, the company said its casino and other gambling businesses, including any VIP junkets, are pursued outside Hong Kong, where casino gaming is not legal.
Suncity Group Holdings reported a net loss of nearly CNY1.65 billion for the first half of 2018.
In August, the company said it had obtained a loan of HKD400 million (US$51 million) from a “related company” owned by Mr Chau.
The auditor’s report by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu LLC for the full-year results said Suncity Group Holdings’ current liabilities exceeded its current assets by CNY1.97 billion and total liabilities exceeded total assets by CNY1.06 billion.
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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