Macau casino giant SJM Holdings reported a 2.9 percent increase in EBITDA to HK.19 billion for the three months ended March 31 (US3.8 million) as gaming revenues increased 4.9 percent to HK.78 billion (.84 billion).
Net income year on year was down 1.9 percent to HK$1.87 billion, reflecting share-based payments of $106 million. Excluding those, profit would have been up 3.6 percent, the company said.
Mass-market table revenue was up 27.8 percent over the prior year quarter, and VIP was down 4.1 percent. But the comparisons reflect a reclassification in Q1 2013 of more than HK$1 billion in high-limit premium-mass revenue as VIP. Without the adjustment, the current quarter would have been up 10 percent on mass revenue and 2.7 percent on VIP. VIP rolling chip sales actually grew 17 percent year on year. But the rate of hold was lower, 2.7 percent versus a luckier 3.08 percent in Q1 2013.
The quarter saw publicly traded SJM (HKSE: 0880) accounting for 23 percent of Macau’s world-leading US$12.8 billion in gaming revenue through the end of March. That is down from 26 percent in Q1 2013 but good for a close second to Sands China (HKSE: 1928) among the market’s six concessionaires. It was derived from three wholly owned and operated casinos and a machine gaming venue and 14 properties owned by third parties whose casinos operate under SJM’s gaming concession in exchange for a share of revenues. The company’s own casinos, all of which are located on the Macau peninsula, accounted for 50 percent of group gaming revenue in the quarter and 73.3 percent of EBITDA, and most of it (36 percent and 53 percent, respectively) was generated by the flagship Casino Grand Lisboa.
The quarter was notable as well for the start of construction of Lisboa Palace, which will be the first foray into the booming Cotai resort district for the company founded by Stanley Ho to succeed the casino monopoly he held in Macau for four decades. Scheduled to open in 2017 at a cost of US$3.9 billion, plans for Lisboa Palace call for 2,000 five- and six-star hotel rooms, 700 table games and 1,200 machine games.