Shun Tak plunges 41pc as Macau traffic disappoints

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 March, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 March, 1997, 12:00am

Casino magnate Stanley Ho Hung-sun's Shun Tak Holdings has reported a 41.3 per cent drop in net profit to $421.5 million for the year to December.

The company, which operates a jetfoil service to Macau, develops property and has interests in restaurants and hotels, was vague about reasons for the downturn.

Directors said there had been a decline in passengers to and from Macau, leading to a decline in revenue.

Last year, the company retired two older jetfoils in an attempt to reduce costs.

Jetfoil operations were hampered due to increased fuel and staff costs even though the Macau Government allowed a 6 per cent fare rise, the company said.

To further reduce maintenance costs, the jetfoil division consolidated its repair works at the company's dockyards on Stonecutters Island, it said.

Operating profit dropped 33.3 per cent to $397.3 million, while earnings per share dived to 28.7 cents from 49.2 cents in the previous year.

The company will pay an unchanged final dividend of 22.5 cents a share - one cent in cash and 21.5 cents in scrip with a cash option. Payout for the year was flat at 32.5 cents.

During the year, the company's property division raised a $6.3 billion syndicated loan for the construction of Belcher Gardens, a 51 per cent-owned project.

Hotel operations in Macau benefited from a gradual recovery in the tourist industry, the company said.

Its hotels - 50 per cent-owned Mandarin Oriental, 34.9 per cent-owned Westin Resort and 11.1 per cent-owned Bella Vista - improved their occupancy rates.

Gross operating profit of Macau Golf and Country Club was up 56.8 per cent due to a surge in income from membership and a healthy rise in income from its food and beverage outlets.

Income from investments in Macau showed good improvement, the company said.

However, Air Hong Kong suffered from an unusually depressed market during the first half, which reduced operating profits.