The impact of the ongoing Hong Kong protests, combined with the opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge (HZMB), saw passenger ferry business TurboJET fall into loss in 1H19 as fewer passengers opted for its main Hong Kong-Macau route.
TurboJET’s parent company, Shun Tak Holdings, revealed on Monday a HK$70 million loss for the ferry service in the first six months of the year, down from a profit of HK$186 million 12 months earlier. Passenger numbers during that time fell 32% year-on-year to 4.6 million.
“The Group’s transportation division faces a number of competitive challenges over the coming year,” Shun Tak said in its earnings release.
“In the shorter term, recent political unrest in Hong Kong has begun to affect the flow of tourists across the region and reduce passenger numbers for ferry services between Hong Kong and Macau.
“In the face of the new infrastructure and other factors that are influencing travel demand across the entire Greater Bay Area, the Group’s transportation division has been working proactively to enhance its service offerings, adjust its services and improve its operational efficiency to capture new opportunities arising.”
Although the HZMB has impacted TurboJET’s bottom line, Shun Tak recouped some of those 1H19 losses as one of the bridge’s approved shuttle bus service providers. Shun Tak & CITS Coach (Macao) Limited, better known as Golden Bus, recorded revenue of HK$70 million for the period.
Shun Tak Holdings, founded by Dr Stanley Ho in 1962, saw its profit climb 10-fold in 1H19 to HK$3.4 billion on the back of strong sales in its expansive real estate segment. The company also remains heavily invested in Macau’s gaming industry, including an 11.5% stake in STDM which in turns owns 54.1% of casino concessionaire SJM Holdings.
Shun Tak’s Group Executive Chairman and Managing Director, Pansy Ho, is also Co-Chairperson and Executive Director at MGM China.