In a note issued to shareholders this week, Suncity warned that it had suffered a financial loss during the period spanning February to May due to the “immense impact” of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Asia-Pacific casino industry.
However, Suncity CEO Alvin Chau said the company had built up a “robust fiscal foundation” over the previous fat years, and thus “shareholders will be exempted from the loss” the company has endured since COVID-19 devastated the global gaming industry.
Unlike its sister firm Suncity Group Holdings, which is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the Suncity junket business is privately held. The company told GGRAsia that the ‘shareholders’ mentioned in the notice referred to “passive investors who do not participate in the day-to-day decisions of operating the company.”
These shareholders won’t be receiving any dividends from Suncity’s activities until at least June, which Chau said was “not an easy decision” to make. To boost confidence in the company’s fiscal health, Suncity offered shareholders “rebates” on their account deposits.
Suncity also said it will pay its roughly 4,500 global staff their full salaries starting in June from the company’s “fiscal reserve.” This largesse will continue “up to 2020 fourth quarter or January 2021 depending on how the market is recovering.”
Macau was forced to shut its casinos for 15-days in mid-February as COVID-19 spread, and the market has yet to recover. April’s revenue was down 97% year-on-year as China refused to lift quarantine restrictions and expectation are that May’s figure could be even worse. Numerous other Asia-Pacific casino markets have been shut down entirely for over two months.
Suncity Group Holdings, which previously functioned as a hospitality and travel service for Suncity Group clients, has been busy establishing itself as a casino investor/operator. The company has projects on the go in Cambodia, Vietnam and the Philippines, as well as harboring Japanese integrated resort ambitions.