CASINO

Neptune junket expects “significant loss”

TAGs: junket operators, Macau, Neptune Group

neptune-group-macau-junket-profit-warningMacau casino junket investor Neptune Group has warned shareholders that profits continue to be elusive.

This week, Neptune filed papers with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange warning investors that the company expected to record “a significant loss” for its fiscal year ending June 30 when final numbers are released on September 30.

Neptune’s board of directors cited three factors that contributed to the expected loss: the “slow and often delayed” receipt of monies from the Macau junket business, the “still harsh” environment for Macau VIP gaming, and Macau junkets’ reluctance to issue credit to players given the aforementioned difficulty in collecting on gambling debts.

The company had previously announced that it lost $33m in the six months ending Dec. 31, 2015. That followed a $103m loss in its 2014-15 fiscal year that ended June 30, 2015, which prompted the company to warn that it would consider getting out of the junket business altogether if things didn’t improve in the next couple years, although chairman Danny Xuha Huang later claimed these remarks were perhaps “overly pessimistic.”

Neptune has ties to most Macau casino operators, with the exception of MGM China and Wynn Macau. According to its 2014-15 annual report, Neptune controlled 73 VIP gaming tables in Macau as of last summer. At its peak, Neptune was believed to control as much as 20% of Macau’s junket volume, second only to Suncity Group.

The VIP gaming sector has borne the brunt of Macau’s 26-months-and-counting streak of gaming revenue declines. In the second quarter of 2016, the VIP share of the market’s overall gaming revenue pie was 51.5%, down from 55.5% in Q2 2015 and well off its mid-70s peak in 2014.

Macau’s VIP slump has convinced many junket operators to pursue deals in other gaming jurisdictions, with the Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia among the principal beneficiaries. For instance, NagaWorld in Phnom Penh just reported VIP turnover rising 26% in H1 2016.

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