Profit at Macau casino hotel operator Emperor Entertainment Hotel Ltd decreased 6.6 percent year-on-year in the 12 months to March 31, the firm said in a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Wednesday. Overall revenue – and gaming revenue – also fell during the reporting period.
Profit for the financial year was HKD367.5 million (US$47.0 million) compared to HKD393.6 million in the previous year.
The group runs the 311-room Grand Emperor Hotel (pictured) in the Macau peninsula. As of the end of the reporting period, the property’s casino – operating under the SJM Holdings Ltd gaming licence – had 67 mass-market tables, 180 slot machine seats, and a self-managed VIP gaming room with 10 tables. Table count remained the same as in the prior-year period, while slot machine seats were up marginally by eight units.
The group also operates a Macau hotel with no gaming: the 287-room Inn Hotel Macau, formerly known as Best Western Hotel Taipa.
Hong Kong-listed Emperor Entertainment Hotel announced in January it had agreed to acquire a further 5-percent stake in Luck United Holdings Ltd – the privately-held British Virgin Islands (BVI)-registered company that operates the Grand Emperor Hotel – for a consideration of HKD155 million. Emperor Entertainment Hotel now holds an 80-percent equity interest in Luck United Holdings Ltd, according to its annual results announcement.
During the reporting period, the Emperor Entertainment Hotel’s overall revenue fell by 7.8 percent year-on-year, to HKD1.38 billion. The group said its performance for the year ended March 31 had been “somewhat impacted” by the “change in Macau’s tourism landscape.”
“Although the number of inbound visitors in Macau grew during the year, the market share of casinos on the Macau peninsula has been partially captured by the recently opened casino resorts in Cotai,” Emperor Entertainment Hotel stated. It added: “In order to expand its customer base and enhance customer loyalty, the group strengthened its efforts to improve customer segmentation and customer services, aiming to create personalised and pleasant experiences for gamblers.”
The firm’s gaming revenue declined by 9.3 percent in year-on-year terms during the reporting period, to HKD1.14 billion.
Rolling chip turnover in Emperor Entertainment Hotel’s self-managed VIP room also declined in the year ended March 31, to HKD19.3 billion from HKD22.4 billion a year earlier. Revenue from the VIP room was HKD429.4 million, compared to HKD490.9 million in the prior-year period, accounting for 31.1 percent of the group’s total revenue for the 12 months ended March 31.
Mass market win from table games stood at almost HKD1.19 billion for the period, down by 8.2 percent in year-on-year terms. Revenue from this segment was HKD664.8 million – compared to HKD723.2 million in the prior-year period –, accounting for 48.1 percent of the group’s total revenue.
The board recommended a final dividend of HKD0.054 per share. Together with the interim dividend of HKD0.028 per share, the total dividends per share for the year are HKD0.082, compared to HKD0.083 om the previous year.
Looking ahead, Emperor Entertainment Hotel’s management stated it planned to “to expand its share of the premium mass market, in which the group sees long-term potential.” That was a reference to players that bet in high multiples but in cash rather than the credit issued to traditional VIP players.
The firm however did not mention in its annual results announcement the importance of the premium mass market segment to its performance in the 12 months ended March 31.
To boost premium mass-related business, Emperor Entertainment Hotel said it would “increase its competitiveness by offering differentiated, premium services to the targeted segments.” The firm did not elaborate either on the nature of the “premium services” to be offered, nor on the profile of the segments it planned to target.
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”I do not believe that this event [the collapse of a under-construction building in Sihanoukville] will slow down the issuance of [gaming] licences. Market forces will probably dictate the process as developers evaluate projected future demand for gaming in the region”
Senior partner at business consultancy Global Market Advisors