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Russia- Local demand in Russia sees Tigre de Cristal recover quickly

By - 3 September 2021

With revenues generated in the Philippines and Vietnam restricted by international travel restrictions, it was left to Tigre de Cristal in Russiato prop up the results of SunCity Holdings. The Russian casino generated a positive Adjusted EBITDA of HK$17.2m in the 1H 2021, versus a negative Adjusted EBITDA of HK$22.1m in the 1H 2020.

Net gaming revenue of Tigre de Cristal, which consists of three main sources namely the rolling chip business, mass table business and electronic gaming business, was approximately HK129m during 1H 2021, increased by approximately HK$33m or 34 per cent year-on-year comparing to 1H

Chau Cheok Wa, Chairman of Suncity Group Holdings, said: “In each of our properties, we manage costs carefully without affecting customer experience. Secondly, we will continue to work on creating growth for all our properties so that Tigre de Cristal, Hoiana, and later, Westside City Project will become main growth drivers of the Group. We remain pragmatic and will flexibly adjust the scale and speed of development, prioritising projects with the highest and fastest returns. The exposure to local demand in Russia also helps us to recover faster in the near term. Tigre de Cristal’s mass and slots segments delivered credible results even though borders were not yet reopened, thanks to the support of the local Russian gaming patrons.”

The operator said: “In Russia, the tourism industry was significantly impacted by the resurgence of COVID-19 pandemic in the first half of 2021. Total foreign arrivals in Primorsky region in the first quarter of 2021 decreased 71 per cent year-on-year to 19,7881. Borders for international tourism remained closed, while electronic visas to Russia were still suspended. Authorities extended tightened COVID-19 countermeasures, including restrictions on mass entertainment events and limiting restaurants’ operating hours. Russia has launched its vaccination programme in December 2020. Mandatory vaccination was introduced in at least 18 regions in the country for high-risk groups as virus cases surged in the first half of 2021. Russian authorities target herd immunity by 1 November 2021.”

“In the Philippines, international tourism has not resumed yet. Manila’s integrated resorts were required to temporarily suspend all operations in late March 2021 as the country entered another wave of COVID-19. Until late May 2021, the casinos resumed operations at limited capacity. The Philippines’ total GGR in the first half of 2021 was PHP50.9bn (equivalent to approximately US$1bn), down eight per cent year-on-year. The Philippines government started its COVID-19 vaccination program in March 2021 and targets to have up to 70 million people vaccinated by 2021.

Hoiana’s total net revenue was approximately US$6.8m. Adjusted EBITDA was approximately US$20.6m.

“As Vietnam has closed its borders to foreign tourists since late March 2020 to contain the pandemic and implemented strict quarantine protocols. The country closed its borders for international tourism for over a year, and many tourist destinations remained closed. The country has started its COVID-19 vaccination program for high-risk groups in March 20214, and targets herd immunity by the end of the first quarter of 20224,” it added.

Mr. Chau added: “We have worked diligently during these challenging times to sow the seeds for the best integrated resorts in Asia,” he added. In the North, in Tigre de Cristal, both hardware and software are ready – Suncity Premium Club and new F&B options are now all ready, awaiting border reopening. Phase II is on its way too, not to mention that the Integrated Entertainment Zone of the Primorye Region (“IEZ Primorye”) will be the next entertainment destination of its own calibre with nearby openings. In the South, Hoiana is awaiting tourists to experience her beauty along the sandy coast in Central Vietnam. In the East, Westside City Project is constructing in full steam in the Philippines. In Japan, our ski hotel in Niseko and diving hotel in Miyako Islands will offer customers pure Japanese leisure and fun.”

In terms of future developments, the Tigre de Cristal Phase I upgrade has already been completed, pending border reopening. A brandnew Suncity Premium Club, a new authentic hotpot restaurant and a new private club are now ready. Phase II planning and construction are well underway except minor delays due to COVID-19. When Phase I & II are both running in 2023, Tigre de Cristal will triple in its number of rooms, and double in number in its gaming facilities. Together with other integrated resorts in Primorye, they are going to form a gaming cluster known as the IEZ Primorye.

Construction works are going on at full steam in Westside City Project even though Manila was under lockdown. The construction team on the ground are working around multiple challenges due to the lockdown while they adjust the priority to deliver progress. The foundation works have been completed, cranes are now being erected and the focus is to construct the building upwards. Westside City Project is expected to be ready in 2023.

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