Hong Kong-listed Suncity Group Holdings Ltd saw its consolidated adjusted loss before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for full-year 2020 widen to RMB105.2 million (US$16 million) – versus RMB59.4 million in 2019 – at a time when its several overseas casino resort projects experienced headwinds linked to the Covid-19 pandemic.
For 2020, the group-wide net profit attributable to shareholders reached RMB786.4 million for 2020, higher than the company’s earlier estimate of CNY750.4 million. The actual result was a “significant turnaround” – though “primarily non-cash” in nature – when compared to the group’s net loss of RMB1.48 billion in the previous fiscal year, according to its earnings filed to the Hong Kong bourse.
Hoiana (pictured), the group’s flagship casino resort complex in central Vietnam, recorded total net revenue of approximately US$4.8 million and total gross gaming revenue (GGR) of US$8.9 million for the period running from the property’s “preview date” on June 28 to the December 31 of 2020. For that period, the property saw a total adjusted EBITDA loss of US$32 million.
The pandemic had brought “Hoiana’s grand opening to a halt,” said the group’s chairman, Alvin Chau Cheok Wa, in a letter to shareholders accompanying the release of full-year group-wide results.
The results gave no update on a new official launch date for Hoiana. But the group noted: “Hotel rooms will be rolled out in phases according to the demand of the market, to balance costs and benefits.”
Suncity Group Holdings – an investor in the Hoiana scheme – also noted that it would “ensure fiscal survivability in Hoiana” until international travel recovers from the impact of Covid-19, while “continuing marketing” to “local expatriates” and the overseas Vietnamese present in the country, and that hold foreign passports.
“The group will continue to ramp up the property [Hoiana] to prepare for more VIP rooms, hotel rooms, additional food and beverage and retail outlets,” stated Suncity Group Holdings in the full-year 2020 results document.
Tigre de Cristal, Westside City
Suncity Group Holdings’ 2020 results release included the contribution since October 2020 to the year-end, of Tigre de Cristal, a resort in Russia. It contributed approximately RMB42.3 million in revenue from gaming and hotel operations from October to 2020 year-end.
Summit Ascent reported last week that its full-year 2020 profit fell 87.8 percent year-on-year.
In its 2020 financial results document, Suncity Group Holdings said “upgrade” work at phase one of Tigre de Cristal had already been completed. “A brand-new Suncity VIP room has been already set up and is now operational. A new authentic hotpot restaurant and a new private club are open, to welcome guests,” the group said.
Suncity Group Holdings is now working on the planning and design work for the second phase for Tigre de Cristal, but said it could face “minor delays” due to Covid-19.
Apart from upgrading the Russian casino resort’s infrastructure, Suncity Group Holdings said it will “help to introduce a brand-new direct VIP segment using the group’s customer base”, and “bring in a new premium mass segment”.
“Capacity-wise, Phase II will triple the current number of rooms, and double the number of tables and electronic gaming machines,” Suncity Group Holdings stated.
The group reiterated the “main hotel casino” at its Westside City Project should open “in 2023”. The casino part is to be aimed at “slots and mass entertainment” demand in the Philippines, said Mr Chau in the letter to shareholders.
Above-ground construction is under way at Westside City, the group noted in its results. Once all the components of the project are in place, it should include approximately 400 gaming tables, over 1,200 electronic gaming machines, and over 450 five-star hotel rooms, along with several other non-gaming amenities.
Suncity Group Holdings noted its bank balances and cash amounted to RMB2.2 billion as at December 31, 2020. Total “bank and other borrowings” as of that date, were approximately RMB1.3 billion.
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”The [VIP and premium-mass] segments are following very different trajectories, and we would expect that to continue for the time being”
Chief operating officer of Macau casino operator Sands China