High-stakes boom triples Galaxy's take

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 October, 2011, 12:00am


Galaxy Entertainment's third-quarter core earnings nearly tripled from a year ago following the opening of its HK$16.5 billion Cotai strip casino resort.

The Macau casino developer, controlled by the family of property tycoon Lui Che-woo, booked earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) of HK$1.79 billion from July to September, the 2,200-room Cotai property's first full quarter of operations.

That marked a 191 per cent increase from a year earlier, and a 62 per cent rise from the second quarter, Galaxy said yesterday in a preliminary results announcement. It did not provide net profit.

Revenue surged 148 per cent from a year ago and 67 per cent from the previous quarter to HK$13.29 billion on the back of booming high-stakes gambling volumes.

The new flagship property, Galaxy Macau, booked HK$163 billion in VIP gaming chip turnover. Mass-market 'drop' or wagers were HK$5 billion for the quarter.

'Not unlike its sister property StarWorld, Galaxy Macau appears to be taking more than its fair share of VIP revenue,' analysts at Union Gaming Macau wrote yesterday in a research note.

Growth of VIP volumes at the five-year-old StarWorld, located on the Macau peninsula, was enough to allay any fears over cannibalisation by Galaxy's new Cotai casino.

VIP chip turnover at StarWorld rose 32 per cent from a year ago and 14 per cent from the second quarter to a record HK$180 billion.

Galaxy said occupancy at the Cotai resort, which opened on May 15 with about two-thirds of its rooms finished, rose to 91 per cent, while hotel room capacity rose 50 per cent to 2,100. The company opened several new VIP gambling junket rooms during the quarter, and will open the remaining 100 hotel rooms and a nine-screen cinema by the end of the year.