By James A. Loyola
Gaming and real estate firm Belle Corporation reported an 18 percent decline in consolidated net income to ₱2.18 billion for the nine months of 2019 from the ₱2.66 billion earned in the same period last year due to lower lottery revenues.
In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, the firm said it realized consolidated revenues of ₱5.77 billion for the nine months ended September 30, 2019, down 11 percent compared to revenues of ₱6.46 billion for 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, which leases online betting equipment to the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) for their lottery and keno operations.
Pacific Online, which is 50.1 percent-owned by Belle’s subsidiary Premium Leisure Corporation (PLC), posted a 51 percent decrease in revenues, from ₱1.56 billion in 2018 to ₱766 million in 2019.
This was due to competition from the small town lottery, and the temporary suspension of lottery and keno operations by the PCSO during the third quarter of 2019.
With the suspensions since lifted, 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 core operations continued to be stable.
Its real estate operations realized a 4 percent increase in revenues, from ₱2.52 billion during the first nine months of last year to ₱2.63 billion during the first nine months of the current year.
Of real estate revenues so far in 2019, ₱2.0 billion came from Belle’s lease of the land and buildings comprising City of Dreams Manila to Melco Resorts and Entertainment (Philippines) Corporation, which was a 16 percent improvement over 2018.
Belle’s real estate sales and property management activities at its Tagaytay Highlands complex contributed the balance of ₱624 million during 2019. PLC registered a ₱2.38-billion share in gaming earnings of City of Dreams Manila for the first nine months of 2019, which was unchanged from the same period in 2018.