Universal Ent loss widens to Sept as gaming rev halved 

Universal Ent loss widens to Sept as gaming rev halved

Japanese gaming conglomerate Universal Entertainment Corp says its group-wide net sales in the first nine months of 2020 fell by 17.5 percent year-on-year, to nearly JPY77.14 billion (US$735.0 million), dragged by lower revenue at casino resort Okada Manila, due to restrictions linked to countermeasures in the Philippines against Covid-19.

The company said it recorded an operating profit for the reporting period, supported by sales in the amusement equipment business; but that its net loss widened as some facilities at Okada Manila (pictured) that were not used during the suspension of operations “were reclassified from selling, general and administrative expenses, to an extraordinary loss.”

Universal Entertainment makes pachinko and pachislot games for the Japanese domestic market. The group’s subsidiary, Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment Inc, operates the Okada Manila property in the Philippine capital Manila.

Operating profit for the nine months to September 30 stood at JPY7.80 billion, up 463.2 percent from the prior-year period, as the amusement equipment segment saw its sales increase by 31.0 percent year-on-year, to JPY55.55 billion, according to a Thursday filing.

The casino resort segment posted net sales of nearly JPY20.56 billion for the period, down 58.6 percent from a year earlier; and an operating loss of JPY7.62 billion, compared with an operating loss of JPY1.84 billion a year ago.

Adjusted segment earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) in the casino resort business was negative to the tune of JPY2.76 billion in the year to September 30, compared with a positive figure of JPY9.06 billion in the prior-year period.

The group’s net loss attributable to owners of the parent stood at JPY6.81 billion, compared with a loss of JPY5.74 billion in the first nine months of 2019.

An extensive lockdown for Metro Manila, including for its large-scale casino resorts in Entertainment City, was first announced in mid-March as part of Covid-19 countermeasures, and was subsequently extended in increments although the terms were relaxed somewhat. Since June, casino firms have been allowed to resume gaming operations at limited capacity.

In September, Universal Entertainment said that Okada Manila had been allowed to operate gaming tables and slots at “30 percent” capacity.

In Thursday’s filing, Universal Entertainment said the Okada Manila hotel had received approval in October from the Philippine Department of Tourism to “resume hotel services at full capacity”.

“Okada Manila has resumed part of its operation in accordance with the government’s guidelines,” including for some of its restaurants, said the parent company.

In October, it was announced that Byron Yip had been promoted to president of Okada Manila. Mr Yip served most recently as the venue promoter’s chief operating officer.

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