By Madelaine B. Miraflor
SM Group’s Belle Corporation (Belle) has booked a consolidated net income of P700 million for the first quarter of 2019, which was 18 percent lower than the P851 million it had in the same period in 2018.
Its consolidated revenues also ended lower during the period at P1.9 billion, down by 6 percent from the P2.0 billion it had in the same period in 2018.
“Although Belle continued to experience growth at City of Dreams Manila, its overall operating performance was affected by weaker results at Pacific Online Systems Corporation (Pacific Online), which leases online betting equipment to the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) for their lottery and keno operations,” the company said in a filing with the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE).
To be specific, Belle’s gaming-focused subsidiary, Premium Leisure Corp. (PLC), registered an increase of 9 percent in its share in the gaming earnings of City of Dreams Manila, to P725 million for the first quarter of 2019 from P664 million in the comparable period in 2018.
This, however, was dragged by the performance of its subsidiary, Pacific Online, which posted a 48 percent decrease in revenues, from P560 million in the first quarter of 2018 to P294 million for the first quarter of 2019.
Belle Corp. said this was due largely to competition from the small town lottery. Pacific Online is working closely with the PCSO and its network of agents to boost the attractiveness of the pari-mutuel games it offers, and is working to implement cost efficiency measures across its operations.
Belle’s real estate operations, meanwhile, saw an 8 percent increase in revenues, from P809 million in the first quarter of last year to P873 million for the first quarter the current year.
Of the current quarter’s real estate revenues, P668 million came from Belle’s lease of the land and buildings comprising City of Dreams Manila to Melco Resorts and Entertainment (Philippines) Corporation (Melco), which was a 17 percent improvement over the first quarter of 2018. Belle’s real estate sales and property management activities at its Tagaytay Highlands complex contributed the balance of P205 million.