Vietnam resort project delayed due to coronavirus

By Ethan Anderson Updated
Suncity to develop its own hotel brand

The chief of Asia’s leading casino junket operator Suncity Group has said the company’s affiliated integrated resort project in Vietnam is pushing back its launch date by a year.

Calvin Ayre reports that Suncity Group Holdings said a separate, but linked firm from junket operator Suncity group released its 2019 unaudited financial results last Friday.

The Hong Kong-listed company’s revenue hit US$86.1 million last year, down 22.8 per cent from 2018’s result, while gross profit tumbled 57.8 per cent.

The Holdings company currently makes most of its cash through commercial property development and VIP gambler travel services, but is increasingly focused on casino management.

Cash outlays toward expanding these casino management operations are largely responsible for the company’s recent losses.

Speaking of, Suncity announced that the Hoiana integrated resort project in Vietnam, which is a joint venture in which it holds a 34 per cent stake, is pushing back its official launch until sometime next year due to the uncertainties caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Construction of Hoiana is expected to be completed sometime in the second quarter and the property will conduct an “exclusive preview” this summer.

Suncity boss Alvin Chau said his company’s long-term confidence in Vietnam’s casino market “remains positive” despite the current flight and visa disruptions.

Elsewhere, Suncity recently announced that it had obtained shareholder approval for a $200 million payment from its Suntrust Home Developers subsidiary to Westside City Resorts World, a joint venture with Travelers International Hotel Group that is building an integrated resort in Manila’s Entertainment City gaming zone.

Suncity said piling works for the project were underway and a ground-breaking ceremony would be held “soon”.

Suncity also said it is looking to put down firmer roots in South Korea, having signed a memorandum of understanding with foreigners-only casino operator Paradise Co Ltd on a “possible cooperation on Paradise’s casino in Busan.

Integrated resort venture for Suncity

Suncity Group Holdings released a statement earlier this year indicating that construction of the Hoiana integrated resort is moving forward nicely and added that everything is on schedule for the venue to open in the first quarter of 2020.

Calvin Ayre reported in January the company’s assistant vice president of marketing communications James Wong was optimistic in talking to Inside Asian Gaming, stating that the final preparations for the completion of the first phase are moving along quickly.

Hoiana is being built through an agreement between Suncity, VinaCapital Group out of Vietnam and VMS Investment Group.

Suncity has been primarily a junket operator, but has been transitioning into direct casino operations in recent times and this project is one of the primary examples of that transformation.

Mr Wong told IAG that even before the completion of the first phase of the integrated resort, its Hoiana Shores golf course will be open.

It is expected to see customers tee off before the end of the year, as a three-month soft launch that began in September comes to an end.

As for the rest of phase one, he said, “We are looking at the first quarter, most likely late February or March.”

Additional phases and completion of the entire venue will take several more years.

Suncity has been working toward making an entrance into gaming operations for a couple of years.

Mr Wong explained to IAG: “We have been getting experience for the last 12 or 13 years in providing high level service, so we’ve got the skill, we’ve got the database, we’ve got all the software, which makes us ready to be an operator.”

“Now we are testing the hardware. Obviously one of the main reasons is that when we have our own hardcore, we have better control to entertain our guests and provide a more unique experience,” he said.

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