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Summit Ascent Holdings Limited Reports Unaudited Interim Results For 1H 2021

Initial Recovery Observed as Total Revenue Increased

Tigre De Cristal Adjusted EBITDA Grew 1.3 Times Sequentially Albeit Covid

Local Mass & Slots Businesses Offered Downside Protection During Covid

  HONG KONG SAR - Media OutReach - 24 August 2021 - Summit Ascent Holdings Limited ("Summit Ascent", the "Group" or "Company") (Hong Kong Stock Exchange code: 102) today reported selected unaudited financial data for the six months ended 30 June 2021. All amounts are expressed in HK$ unless otherwise stated.   INTERIM 2021 UNAUDITED RESULTS HIGHLIGHTS:   Summit Ascent: Initial Recovery Observed as Total Revenue Rose 35% YoY & 12% Sequentially
  • 1H 2021 Group Total Revenue of HK$129.5 million, up 35% YoY and up 12% sequentially
  • 1H 2021 Loss attributable to Owners of the Company was HK$(0.13) million, significantly improved when compared to HK$(47.0) million in 1H 2020
  Tigre de Cristal: 1H 2021 Adjusted EBITDA Continued Trending Positive While Increased 1.3 Times Sequentially in the Middle of COVID, Thanks to Sustained Local Mass & Slots Businesses
  • 1H Net Revenue from Gaming Operations of HK$122.7 million, up 33% YoY
  • 1H Total Gross Gaming Revenue ("GGR") of HK$139.1 million, up 9% YoY
  • 1H Adjusted EBITDA of Tigre de Cristal was HK$17.2 million versus negative HK$(22.1) million in 1H 2020, 1H Adjusted EBITDA was also up 131% sequentially versus 2H 2020
  • Average Hotel Occupancy was 44% during weekends and 21% during weekdays in 1H 2021
  Balance Sheet: Solid and Liquid Balance Sheet; Zero Gearing
  • As at 30 June 2021, Bank Balances and Cash were at HK$635.3 million
  • Summit Ascent granted a short-term loan of US$120 million that bears 6% interest per annum to SunTrust for yield management to generate interest income for the Group
  • The Group had no outstanding Bank Borrowing throughout the first half of 2021; Gearing Ratio was 0%
  Development Update: Tigre de Cristal Phase I Upgrade Ready; Phase II on its Way; Diversifying into the Philippines
  • Tigre de Cristal Phase I upgrade ready – A brand-new Suncity Premium Club, new hot pot restaurant and a new private club are now ready
  • Phase II planning & design on its way – Minor delays due to COVID; Continue development works with Phase II
  • Diversifying into the Philippines – Invest in one of the fastest-growing Asian gaming jurisdictions in Asia, the Philippines; Receiving 6% coupon from convertible bonds and short-term loan investment in SunTrust
  Mr. Chau Cheok Wa, Chairman, said:   "We are creating the good, and sustaining the bad. Summit Ascent is a blessed company with a solid cash basis and is debt-free. Suncity brought in additional flexibility to become our company's core mindset. We have a lot of bright ideas for growth; however, being able to sustain for now is the prerequisite to talk about tomorrow. Thanks to the solid local Russian demand, Tigre de Cristal continues to generate a positive-EBITDA in the first half of 2021, even surpassing that of the second half 2020 by 1.3 times. No one knows for certain how long the world will be disordered by COVID. Yet I am certain that even if the pandemic last for a while longer, Summit Ascent is well-equipped to survive the storm. Thanks to the Russian Government, our shareholders, our staff and our suppliers for your support to our company during challenging economic times."   Market Overview   Russia   In Russia, the tourism industry was significantly impacted by the resurgence of COVID-19 pandemic in the first half of 2021. Total foreign arrivals in Primorsky region in the first quarter of 2021 decreased 71 % year-on-year to 19,7881. Borders for international tourism remained closed, and electronic visas to Russia were still suspended. Authorities extended tightened COVID-19 countermeasures, including restrictions on mass entertainment events and limiting restaurants' operating hours. Russia has launched its vaccination programme since December 2020. Mandatory vaccination was introduced in at least 18 regions in the country for high-risk groups as virus cases surged in the first half of 2021. Russia targets herd immunity by 1 November 2021.   The Philippines   In the Philippines, international tourism has not resumed yet. Manila's integrated resorts were required to temporarily suspend all operations in late March 2021 as the country entered another wave of COVID-19. Until late May 2021, the casinos resumed operations at limited capacity. The Philippines' total GGR in the first half of 2021 was PHP50.9 billion (equivalent to approximately US$1 billion), down 8% year-on-year2. Foreign arrivals in January to May of 2021 decreased 97% year-on-year to 46,322 million3. The Philippines government started its COVID-19 vaccination programme in March 2021 and targets to have up to 70 million people vaccinated by 2021.   1         Federal Security Service (FSB)  2      Philippines Amusement and Gaming Corporation 3      Department of Trade and Industry, Republic of the Philippines   GROUP FINANCIAL RESULTS   Adjusted EBITDA of Tigre de Cristal   The Group recorded a positive Adjusted EBITDA of HK$17.2 million in the 1H 2021, versus a negative Adjusted EBITDA of HK$(22.1) million in the 1H 2020.   Revenue and Segment Reporting   Revenue of the Group, comprising revenue from gaming operations and hotel operations, was HK$129.5 million in the 1H 2021, increased by 35% compared to HK$96.0 million in the 1H 2020.   Gaming Operations   Our Gross Gaming Revenue ("GGR"), represented the amount of money players wagered minus the winning payouts to them, before commissions rebated, discounted or complimentary products and services provided and redeemable points earned under the loyalty programs, consisted of the following:  
 

1H 2021

Share of GGR

1H 2020

Share of GGR

 

HK$'000

%

HK$'000

%

Rolling chip business

50,008

39.3%

Mass table business

68,514

49.3%

35,697

28.1%

Electronic gaming business

70,559

50.7%

41,456

32.6%

Total GGR

139,073

100.0%

127,161

100.0%

  Rolling chip business   Our rolling chip business primarily targets foreign players. The table below sets forth the key performance indicators of our rolling chip business in 2021 on a quarterly basis.  
(HK$'million)

Q1 2020

Q2 2020

1H 2021

1H 2020

  Rolling chip volume

1,192

Gross win

50

Less: Rebate

(32)

Net win after rebate

18

Gross win rate%  

4.19%

Daily average number of tables opened (Note)

14

  Note: Excluding the period of suspension from 28 March to 13 April and 22 April to 30 June 2020.   Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, no rolling chip activities has been noted in the 1H 2021. Rolling chip volume (measured as the sum of all non-negotiable chips wagered and lost by players) at Tigre de Cristal was HK$1.2 billion in the 1H 2020. Net win after all commissions rebated directly or indirectly to customers from rolling chip business was HK$18 million in the 1H 2020. Gross win rate percentage (represented the ratio of gross win to rolling chip volume) was 4.19% in the 1H 2020.   Mass table business   Our mass table business targets both the foreign tourists and the local market. The table below sets forth the key performance indicators of our mass table business in 2021 on a quarterly basis.  
(HK$'million)

Q1 2021

Q2 2021

1H 2021

1H 2020

  Mass table drop

123

114

237

141

Net win

24

31

55

34

Net win rate %

19.5%

27.2%

23.2%

24.1%

Daily average number of tables opened (Note)

24

23

24

24

  Note: Excluding the period of suspension from 28 March to 13 April and 22 April to 30 June 2020.
Mass table drop (measured as the sum of gaming chips purchased or exchanged at the cages) increased remarkably by 68% to HK$237 million in the 1H 2021, compared to HK$141 million in the 1H 2020. Net win from mass table business increased by 62% to HK$55 million in the 1H 2021, compared to HK$34 million in the 1H 2020. Net win rate percentage (represented net win as a percent of mass table drop) decreased slightly from 24.1% in the 1H 2020 to 23.2% in the 1H 2021.   Electronic gaming business   Our electronic gaming business primarily targets the local Russian market. The table below sets forth the key performance indicators in 2021 on a quarterly basis.  
(HK$'million)

Q1 2021

Q2 2021

1H 2021

1H 2020

  Electronic gaming volume

782

781

1,563

810

Net win

33

35

68

41

Net win rate %

4.2%

4.5%

4.4%

5.1%

Daily average number of electronic gaming machines deployed (Note)

285

297

291

304

  Note: Excluding the period of suspension from 28 March to 13 April and 22 April to 30 June 2020.   Electronic gaming volume (measured as the total value of electronic gaming credits wagered by players) was HK$1,563 million in the 1H 2021, increased significantly by 93% compared to HK$810 million in the 1H 2020. The electronic gaming business recorded net win of HK$68 million, increased by 66% compared to HK$41 million in the 1H 2020. The net win rate percentage decreased to 4.4% in the 1H 2021 from 5.1% in the 1H 2020. The average number of electronic gaming machines deployed slightly decreased by 4% to 291 units in the 1H 2021, compared to 304 units in the 1H 2020.   Hotel Operations   Revenue from hotel operations, despite largely dependent on foreign tourists, steadily increased to HK$6.7 million in the 1H 2021 or by 82% compared to the 1H 2020. Average hotel occupancy rates increased to 44% (1H 2020: 15%) during weekends and 21% (1H 2020: 20%) during weekdays in the 1H 2021.
  Development Update   Tigre de Cristal, Russia   Tigre de Cristal Phase I upgrade has already been completed, pending border reopening to fully utilise the new upgrades. A brand-new Suncity Premium Club, a new authentic hotpot restaurant and a new private club are now ready.   Phase II planning and construction are well underway except minor delays due to COVID-19. When Phase I & II are both running, Tigre de Cristal will triple in its number of rooms, and double in number in its gaming facilities. Together with other integrated resorts in Primorye, they are going to form a gaming cluster known as the Primorye IEZ.   Westside City Project, Philippines   Through investing in the convertible bonds in Suntrust Home Developers, Inc. ("SunTrust"), Summit Ascent has exposure to the Westside City Project in the Philippines.   Construction works are going on at full steam in Westside City Project even though Manila was under lockdown. The construction team on the ground are working around multiple challenges due to the lockdown while they adjust priority to deliver progress. The foundation works have been completed, cranes are now being erected and the focus is to construct the building upwards. Westside City Project is expected to be ready in 2023.   When all phases of Westside City Project are ready, it will consist of:   * Approximately 300 gaming tables * Over 1,300 electronic gaming machines * Over 450 five-star hotel rooms * Approximately 1,000 car park spaces * Pool club & leisure club etc.   Westside City Project will be integrated with the shopping malls, theatres, restaurants, and shopping streets, etc. to be built by Suncity's partner Westside/Travellers International Hotel Group Inc. They will also build additional hotel rooms, a shopping mall, a Grand Opera House, restaurants, a theatre district and an additional of approximately 2,000 car park spaces.   Selected Major Awards  
Awards Institution
SUMMIT ASCENT HOLDINGS LIMITED
All-Asia Executive 2021 "Honored Company" Best ESG, Ranked 3rd Buy-side & Sell-side Combined Best CEO, Ranked 3rd Sell-side Best CFO, Ranked 3rd Sell-side Best Investor Relations Company, Ranked 3rd Buy-side & Sell-side Combined Best Investor Relations Professional, Ranked 2nd Buy-side & Sell-side Combined Best Investor Relations Team, Ranked 3rd Buy-side & Sell-side Combined   Institutional Investor
TIGRE DE CRISTAL, RUSSIA
Corporate Travel Awards 2020 (Hotel Resort of the Year) CEO Today Magazine
Winner of the XVI Business Prize of Primorsky Krai (Company of the Year 2019) Zolotoy Rog
Top 5 nominees of "Russia's Leading Resort 2019" World Travel Awards
  Outlook   The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be the most prevalent uncertainty in our business operating environment. While we are being pragmatic in controlling costs across the board, we have been able to crystalise some of the temporary savings into permanent ones by improving efficiencies. We continue to remain cautiously optimistic in the long run for the Group as its long-term fundamentals remain solid and has not been affected by the pandemic.   Under the pandemic, even with zero foreign tourists, Tigre de Cristal was already able to generate a positive EBITDA merely based on local Russian mass and slots businesses, which act as downside protection for the Group. The Group has a strong balance sheet, solid cash and no debt. Unlike some gaming operators which added leverage to their balance sheets during the pandemic, we have never raised any debt to weather this storm. The cash we have on our balance sheet offers us the flexibility to develop for growth while sustaining through the pandemic.   Secondly, the Russian Federation is blessed as it has access to the self-developed vaccines, which means that as vaccination rates in the country continue to be improved, it is less likely that mandatory closure of the integrated resorts will be required again. Therefore, we believe that the worst-case scenario affected by the pandemic has already passed, and as long as the COVID-19 situation remains under control in the Russian Federation, mandatory complete closure is relatively unlikely to happen again.   Thirdly, the hardware for our main growth drivers are ready. The brand-new Suncity Premium Club and the hot pot restaurant are now fully operational in Tigre de Cristal, pending border reopening for full utilisation. In the short run, while our operating expenses can be sustained through continued operations supported by the local mass and slots businesses, growth in premium mass and Suncity Premium business will depend heavily on border policies because of the reliance on tourism in these two segments. As the world continues to fight back the virus with improving vaccination rates, it sets the scene to allow talks of border reopening between countries soon.   In addition, we are excited to observe that international flights are resuming to the Vladivostok International Airport from 2021 onwards from places such as Seoul and Tokyo. Although the number of tourists arriving at Vladivostok via these flights is low due to back-and-forth quarantine requirements, we are confident on the overall long-term appeal of the IEZ Primorye. Together with the recent and would-be openings of new integrated resorts in the IEZ Primorye, the cluster effect can draw tourists and turn the area into a leisure destination on its own. The uncertainty in land-based gaming developments in Japan also poses an opportunity for the IEZ Primorye to fill this gap as it is only a short flight away for Japanese tourists.   Finally, plans for expansion are continuing to move forward. When TdC Phase II is ready in 2023, Tigre de Cristal will triple the number of existing rooms and double the number of gaming equipment. Through the investment in the convertible bonds in the principal amount of PHP5.6 billion with a 6% coupon rate issued by SunTrust (the "SunTrust CB"), the Group is diversifying into the Philippines gaming market.  SunTrust is the sole and exclusive operator and manager of an integrated resort in the Philippines (the "Main Hotel Casino") expected to commence operations in 2023. Leveraging on Suncity's successful experience in the gaming industry, we are confident that both TdC Phase II and the Main Hotel Casino in the Philippines will become key growth drivers for the Group when they are both up and running.  

About Summit Ascent Holdings Limited (HKEx stock code: 102)

Summit Ascent Holdings Limited ("Summit Ascent") is a subsidiary of Suncity Group Holdings Limited ("Suncity", HKEx: 1383). Summit Ascent holds 77.5% in Tigre de Cristal, currently the largest integrated resort located in the Primorye Integrated Entertainment Zone of the Russian Far East. Situated midway from the Vladivostok International Airport to Vladivostok city, the administrative centre of the Russian Far East, Tigre de Cristal is ideally located geographically in the heart of Northeast Asia. Summit Ascent holds a gaming license granted by the Russian government for an indefinite period, and Tigre de Cristal has opened for business since late 2015, offering a broad range of gaming options on a 24/7 basis. Tigre de Cristal has been certified as a five-star hotel with retail offerings, food and beverage outlets, private club, and named "Russia's Leading Resort" by World Travel Awards. Summit Ascent is a member of the MSCI Hong Kong Micro Cap Index. For more information about Summit Ascent, please visit https://www.saholdings.com.hk/eng/   #SummitAscent

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