VIP tables pour in cash for Galaxy

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 31 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 31 March, 2011, 12:00am

Macau casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group saw net profit drop 21.8 per cent last year on accounting charges, while underlying cash flow nearly doubled.

Galaxy, controlled by the family of property and construction tycoon Lui Che-woo, said net profit was HK$898.46 million last year, down from HK$1.15 billion in 2009 and 26 per cent below the HK$1.22 billion forecast in a Bloomberg survey of analysts.

Stripping out the effects of a one-time gain on a bond buy-back, early redemption of notes and accounting charges on its convertible bonds, the company said underlying net profit tripled to HK$1.3 billion last year from HK$400 million a year earlier.

Cash flow, or earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda), rose 92 per cent to HK$2.23 billion on surging high-stakes gambling volumes at the firm's StarWorld casino hotel. Revenue jumped 57.5 per cent to HK$19.26 billion.

In the fourth quarter, StarWorld's private VIP baccarat tables booked a record HK$147 billion in VIP gambling chip turnover, up 50 per cent from a year earlier.

The casino won and retained 2.8 per cent of those VIP wagers, which is in line with the statistical average but slightly less lucky that the 3.1 per cent win-rate it booked in both the fourth quarter of 2009 and the third quarter of last year.

StarWorld's fourth-quarter ebitda rose 69 per cent from a year ago and 3 per cent from the previous quarter to HK$585 million.

Galaxy plans to open its new flagship property - the HK$14.9 billion, 2,200-room Cotai casino resort - on May 15. The company said yesterday an entertainment centre including a nine-screen cinema will open inside the resort in September at an additional cost of HK$600 million.

The Galaxy Macau will employ 7,600 people and have a 1,500-room Galaxy branded hotel (700 rooms will be ready on opening day), a 260-room Banyan Tree hotel and a 500-room Hotel Okura.

Winning streak

Galaxy's cash flow jumped 92 per cent to HK$2.23 billion last year

Due to accounting charges, the casino operator posted a lower net profit of HK$898.46 million, down by: 21.8%