SJM gets boost from mass-market

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 November, 2012, 2:47am

Macau casino operator SJM posted a 41.2 per cent jump in net profit for the third quarter, even though its gaming revenue fell 0.9 per cent year on year as mainland tourists tightened their belts.

Gaming revenue in the third quarter amounted to HK$18.9 billion while net profit was HK$1.66 billion.

"We remain very optimistic about the future and have committed ourselves to a major expansion of our Macau operations in both gaming and related businesses via our project on Cotai for which we are in the final stages of obtaining the land concession and relevant permits," chief executive Ambrose So said.

SJM, operator of casinos like the Grand Lisboa, last month secured a plot in Cotai, an area it has long been eyeing. It is the last of the six gaming companies in Macau to have been granted land in Cotai.

Mainland tourists in recent years have shown an increasing preference for casinos in Cotai, including the Venetian of Sands China and Galaxy of Galaxy Entertainment, over those on the Macau peninsula.

During the third quarter, the lucrative high-rollers business at SJM dropped 6.3 per cent to HK$12.5 billion but mass-market gaming targeting the rising middle-class mainland visitors increased by a robust 12.1 per cent to HK$6 billion from HK$5.4 billion last year.

A Credit Suisse research note last week said it expects the high-roller segment to "resume positive growth from here", on the back of a stabilising mainland economy and additional credits offered by junkets.

SJM's gaming revenues accounted for 26.1 per cent of Macau's total casino gaming market in the third quarter compared with 28 per cent a year earlier, according to the company.