Rising tide of casino guests lifts Shun Tak profit 23.7pc
Shun Tak Holdings, the property-to-shipping group owned by gaming magnate Stanley Ho Hung-sun, yesterday said first-half profit rose 23.72 per cent as its businesses gained from an increase in visitors to Macau's casinos.
Net profit rose to HK$260.69 million from HK$210.7 million in the same period last year as turnover fell 8.95 per cent to HK$1.22 billion from HK$1.35 billion.
Operating profit from transport operations, mainly ferry services between Hong Kong and Macau and the mainland, rose 42.38 per cent to HK$130.57 million from HK$91.7 million.
The number of tourists visiting Macau rose 16.8 per cent to 10.42 million from 8.92 million a year ago, as more casinos and hotels opened for business.
Shun Tak's profit from investments, mainly dividend payments from Sociedade de Turismo e Diversoes de Macau (STDM), in which it has a 15 per cent stake, surged 24.78 per cent to HK$113.87 million from HK$91.25 million in the same period last year.
STDM owns 80 per cent of Sociedade de Jogos de Macau, one of the three gaming concessionaires granted licences in 2002 by the Macau government.
Goldman Sachs expects a stronger performance in the second half as Shun Tak will book a profit contribution from a residential project, Nova City Phase One in Macau, which should be a key driver for full-year earnings.
About 98 per cent of the first five blocks of the Nova City project have been sold.
Profit from property sales plunged 47.17 per cent in the first half to HK$48.39 million.
Rising interest rates affected the company's finance costs, which jumped 132 per cent to HK$26.52 million from HK$11.43 million a year ago.
Shun Tak said its financial position remained strong with bank balances and deposits amounting to HK$3.71 billion as at June 30 compared with HK$3.84 billion a year earlier.
Loan facilities available to the group totalled HK$8.55 billion, of which HK$7.52 billion remained undrawn.
During the first half, the group's capital expenditure was HK$892 million, a large portion of which was related to the planned Hong Kong SkyCity Marriott Hotel at Hong Kong International Airport.
Shun Tak shares, which have gained 29.5 per cent over the past 12 months, fell 1.38 per cent to close at HK$9.26 yesterday.
The company will pay a dividend of 4.5 HK cents per share, against 2.5 HK cents previously.
Net profit rises to HK$260.6 million despite drop in turnover
Transport segment lifts profit contribution to HK$130.57 million
Stronger second half seen as Macau residential project begins