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LET Group Narrows Year Loss, Manila Site Open End 2024

April 4, 2023 Earnings & Filings

Hong Kong-listed LET Group Holdings Ltd, an investor in a number of Asia-Pacific region casino projects, reported in Thursday filing an annual loss attributable to shareholders of just under HKD408.8 million (US$52.1 million) in 2022, versus a loss amounting to approximately HKD527.5 million in the prior year.

The board did not recommend the payment of a final dividend for 2022, in line with its approach in 2021.

In Thursday’s filing, the company said its “primary focus” was the development of a casino hotel at the Westside City project in Manila, the Philippine capital, via its subsidiary Suntrust Resort Holdings Inc.

“Our Philippines team is actively recruiting seasoned gaming executives on the ground to bring this vision to fruition,” stated LET Group.

It added: “Since the completion of the construction of the podium level where the main gaming halls will be located in, efforts have pivoted to the construction of the hotel tower, with plans to launch a soft opening before the end of 2024 and a grand opening in 2025.”

When fully operational, the complex is to feature a five-star hotel with 450 rooms, approximately 300 gaming tables, and more than 1,300 electronic gaming machines, according to the filing.

Regarding the Hoiana casino resort in Vietnam, LET Group said planning was “in progress” for Phase II of that complex, with the land plots “being prepared for development”. The Hoiana project opened in mid-2020, with a foreigner-only casino.

LET Group’s loss for 2022, as attributable to equity holders as a whole, was “mainly” due to costs and expenses from continuing operations, namely “finance costs of approximately HKD195.1 million; share of loss of a joint venture of approximately HKD160.9 million; and impairment loss on equity loans to, … and amounts due from, a joint venture of approximately HKD74.3 million”.

Those losses were “partially offset by the gain of approximately HKD12.2 million in respect of the change in fair value of derivative financial instruments; and profit for the year from discontinued operations of approximately HKD138.0 million,” said the firm. That included a gain on a disposal, amounting to circa HKD196.5 million.

Consolidated adjusted earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) from continuing operations was approximately HKD77.5 million versus an approximately negative HKD13.3 million for financial year 2021.

LET Group nonetheless reiterated for its 2022 results a “going concern” warning issued previously.

As of December 31, the firm had outstanding liabilities including bond payables, which were reclassified from convertible bonds upon maturity, in the unpaid principal amounts of circa HKD226.4 million and HKD402.0 million, due on August 28, 2022 and December 7, 2022 respectively.

LET Group said: “The sufficiency of the group’s working capital to satisfy its present obligations for at least the next twelve months from 31 December 2022 is dependent on the group’s ability to generate adequate funds by obtaining financing, through successful extension or renewal of the outstanding bond payables or disposal of non-core assets.”

It added: “These conditions indicate that a material uncertainty which may cast significant doubt on the group’s ability to continue as a going concern.”

Subsequent to the annual report, LET Group referred in a filing on March 19, to a 2020 shareholder loan and subsequent advances it had provided to the Hoiana casino resort in Vietnam. The firm said had received repayment in an aggregate amount of circa US$114.8 million, including interest, relating to what it termed those “overdue” loans.

LET Group said in its Thursday filing, that in financial year 2022, its Hong Kong-listed subsidiary Summit Ascent Holdings Ltd, a 77.5-percent owner in the Tigre de Cristal casino resort in Vladivostok in the Russian Far East, had contributed revenue from gaming and hotel operations of approximately HKD372.3 million to the parent based on Summit Ascent’s 2022 results, as well as approximately HKD401.9 million total gross gaming revenue.

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