Suncity Group Holdings Ltd Chairman Alvin Chau says the company’s new Suncity VIP room at Russian integrated resort Tigre de Cristal will welcome its first guests in the near future as the latest expansion of the property nears completion.
The news comes as Summit Ascent Holdings, the majority owner of Tigre de Cristal of which Suncity acquired a controlling stake last year, reported a 15.0% increase in gaming revenues for the year ended 31 December 2019 on higher rolling chip margins and improved slot revenues.
“We are excited to apply our extensive experience in the rolling chip business to move up the value chain at Tigre de Cristal and have been rapidly making alterations and improvements to attract and retain our discerning clientele,” said Chau, who also became Chairman of Summit Ascent in June 2019, in the company’s 2019 results release.
“We are also excited to announce that the construction of our luxurious new Suncity VIP room at Tigre de Cristal is nearing completion and will welcome VIP guests soon.
“Later this year, we expect to add approximately 30 hotel rooms through an extension to the existing property, thereby mitigating our shortage of rooms on peak weekend times and expanding our lodging capacity by approximately 25%. In addition, a new private club, a new hot pot section in the Pan-Asian restaurant and a stand-alone noodle bar are being added to the property’s amenities.
“We are also proud that the Company managed to post its second consecutive year of profit growth, and our majority-owned operating property maintained positive EBITDA expansion during this period of transition.”
Summit Ascent saw its gaming revenues increase to HK$482.2 million, compared to HK$419.3 million in 2018, aided by improvements to the rolling chip business which saw VIP win on the property’s 22 VIP tables increase 12% to HK$122 million.
“The comparatively low gaming tax rate in the Russian Federation enables our majority-owned subsidiary to pay attractive rebates while maintaining solid margins, and Suncity, as the single-largest shareholder of the Company, captures virtually all the additional economics by using the equity method of accounting to share in the results of the Group,” Summit Ascent said.
“We will continue to enhance the non-gaming offerings at Tigre de Cristal in order to further attract player volumes and drive higher value rolling chip business to the property.”
Mass table drop grew 7.3% to HK$751 million with net win of HK$174 million while slot handle grew 19.1% with win of HK$186 million.
Adjusted EBITDA increased by 18% to HK$214.8 million while profit attributable to owners of the Company recorded a significant increase to HK$82.0 million in 2019, compared to HK$7.6 million in 2018.
Suncity Group became the major shareholder in Summit Ascent in April 2019 after acquiring a 27.94% stake via a series of transactions, including 19.21% formerly held by Taiwan’s First Steamship Company Limited and another 6.44% held by First Steamship Chairman Kuo Jen Hao.
That stake was subsequently reduced to 24.74% after Summit Ascent raised HK$297 million to put towards its expansion via a share placement.