NagaCorp boosts resort expansion

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 September, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 September, 2007, 12:00am

Casino developer NagaCorp, Cambodia's only publicly listed company, will scale up an expansion of its flagship resort to add 70 per cent more gaming tables and 40 per cent more hotel rooms to capture rising demand of high rollers from China and Southeast Asia.

NagaCorp, which went public in Hong Kong in October last year, announced the plan yesterday after reporting first-half profit rose 14.66 per cent to US$20.09 million from US$17.52 million a year ago.

Revenue leapt 54.4 per cent to US$64.75 million after high-stakes casino play surged 91 per cent to US$44.6 million. High rollers primarily from Malaysia, China and Vietnam, accounted for 68.6 per cent of group turnover, up from 55.5 per cent a year ago.

Despite a 37.1 per cent increase in the number of visitors travelling on VIP gambling junkets, the average initial cash check-in per player rose 14.9 per cent to US$25,400.

'The quality of players has risen,' NagaCorp chief executive and majority shareholder Chen Lip Keong said yesterday.

NagaCorp is using part of its listing proceeds to fund an ongoing US$90.5 million expansion of NagaWorld in Phnom Penh.

The original plan was to more than double the rooms to 508 and gaming tables to 176 by year-end.

Mr Chen said an additional US$10 million would be spent to add two floors atop each of the hotel's two multi-storey towers, bringing the total capacity to 700 hotel rooms, 300 gaming tables and 600 slots and slated for completion in 2009.

'Land prices have increased significantly in Phnom Penh in recent years so we are expanding by increasing our plot ratio,' he said.

NagaCorp, which holds a monopoly until 2035 on casino operation in the capital, said the number of mainland visitors to its property more than tripled from a year ago to 8,037 in the first six months.