Ponte 16 looks ahead to the future

Sunday, April 19, 2009
Issue 676, Page 3
Word count: 677
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

The Macau Success Limited reported a net loss of HKD239 million from October 1, 2007 to December 31, 2008, which the company said was partly attributable to the HKD170.3 million loss incurred by Ponte 16.

Ponte 16 Resort Macau, located in the Inner Harbour area, is a joint venture project developed by Sociedade de Jogos de Macau, S.A. (SJM) and Macau Success Limited.

The casino floor started operation on February 1, 2008, while the five-star hotel Sofitel Macau at Ponte 16 and the high-limit betting area also opened in August and September in the same year respectively.

According to the Macau Success’ financial announcement for the 15 months ended December 31, 2008, to tie-in the launch of Ponte 16, considerable effort had been put in marketing and promotion.

“Coupled with higher operating costs incurred in the initial stage of operation and depreciation charges, the loss incurred by Ponte 16 shared by the Group during the period under review amounted to approximately HK$170.3 million,” the report says.

“The six-month delay in obtaining the hotel license for Sofitel Macau at Ponte 16 also had a negative impact on Ponte 16’s profitability during the reporting period,” it continues.

Hence, on February 20 this year the company issued a profit warning announcement to convey the messages to its shareholders and potential investors.

However, the company said its management believes the “unique attractions” and marketing efforts of the casino resort would stand Ponte 16 in “good stead for growth”.

As at December 31, 2008, the casino had 97 gaming tables, eight of which were high-roller tables, along with 278 slot machines.

During the period under review, the average number of visitors per day since the opening of Ponte 16 stood at around 10,000, with the highest number recorded in one single day topped at 30,000 during the 2008 Chinese New Year period.

The financial report also shows that the average daily mass drop during the period was about HKD13 million.

With the opening of the VIP hall on the casino floor and the VIP luxury accommodation “The Mansion” at Sofitel in the second half of this year, Macau Success said it expects to see a “further improvement” in the casino’s performance.

In addition, Sofitel Macau at Ponte 16 houses altogether 408 guest rooms including an exclusive block of The Mansion with 19 units.

According to the company’s financial report, high-end guests had been contributing to a “steady growth” in the occupancy rate.

“The management expects occupancy rate to be improved further with the opening of more new amenities in the future,” the report says.

Macau Success performance

The Macau Success Limited, which owns 49 percent of Ponte 16 Resort Macau, is led by chairman Sonny Yeung Hoi-sing.

The company also owns and operates cruise business in Hong Kong and two travel agencies in the two SARs.

For the 15 months ended December 31, 2008, the turnover of the company was about HKD627.3 million, surged from HKD103.8 million in the last corresponding year.

According to the financial report, the substantial increase in the turnover was mainly attributable to the contribution from the Jade Travel Group, in which 80 percent equity interest was acquired by the company in July 2008.

At the same time, gross profit also jumped from HKD95.7 million to HKD134.6 million.

However, after deducting expenses and operating costs, the company logged a net loss of HKD239,078,000 for the period under review.

In which, loss attributable to equity shareholders of the company amounted to around HKD238.3 million, compared to a profit of HKD2.3 million in the last corresponding year.

Loss per share for the period was HK9.87 cents, in contrast to earnings per share of HK0.11 cents in 2007.

Hence, the board of directors did not recommend any payment of a final dividend for the period ended December 31, 2008.

The company justified the substantial loss by saying that its cruise business was “adversely affected by high fuel oil price and operating costs and impairment of other receivables, as well as the loss shared by the Group from the Associates [Ponte 16]”.

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