A drop in operating profit hit fourth-quarter earnings at casino operator Genting Singapore.
Net profit for the three months to Dec 31 slid 17 per cent to $132.8 million, compared with $159.2 million from the same period a year earlier.
Still, Genting Singapore has proposed a higher final dividend of two cents, up 33.3 per cent on the 1.5 cents paid out previously.
Revenue rose 4 per cent to $580.1 million, due to stronger underlying performance from the leisure and hospitality segment as a result of higher business volume, Genting Singapore said after markets closed yesterday.
The daily average visitation for its major attractions - Universal Studios Singapore, S.E.A. Aquarium and Adventure Cove Waterpark - recorded growth of 6 to 9 per cent. The hotel business maintained an occupancy rate of 91 per cent.
Operating profit, however, fell 24 per cent to $179.1 million.
AT A GLANCE
REVENUE: $2.39 billion (+7%)
NET PROFIT: $601 million (+125.6%)
FINAL DIVIDEND PER SHARE: 2 cents (33.3%)
Earnings per share were down 17 per cent to 1.1 cents from 1.33 cents previously, while net asset value was 61.8 cents compared with 60.1 cents a year earlier.
The group redeemed its $2.3 billion 5.125 per cent perpetual subordinated capital securities on Sept 12 and Oct 19, which saw a reduction in assets as of Dec 31.
Genting on Oct 24 also issued unsecured and unsubordinated Japanese yen-denominated bonds with a principal amount of 20 billion yen (S$247.6 million), which resulted in additional borrowings recognised in its non-current liabilities.
Net profit for the full year to Dec 31 more than doubled to $601 million from $266.3 million previously, while revenue grew 7 per cent to $2.39 billion.
Genting Singapore said it recalibrated its credit policy and commission structure for the VIP gaming business last year. "This is paying off and is proving to be a sustainable growth strategy. We are now able to achieve lower impairment on gaming receivables and improve operating margins," it said.
It noted that the Asian gaming and tourism industry showed signs of a rebound last year as a result of good economic growth in its main geographic markets.
It added that it is optimistic the Japan Integrated Resorts Execution Bill will be tabled in this year's Diet session, which will pave the way for the formal bidding process for a Japan gaming licence.
The group said it continues to be engaged in this "significant" business opportunity, with the management preparing for the eventual bidding process.
"Many global gaming operators have pronounced their very keen interest to bid, and we will be facing fierce competition for the limited number of licences," it added.
Genting Singapore shares closed up one cent higher at $1.30 yesterday, before the results were released.