March 26, 2013 / 4:31 AM / 5 years ago

Casino operator Galaxy's net more than doubles in 2012 to hit record

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Macau casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd (0027.HK) more than doubled its net profit in 2012 to a record high, lifted by spending from mainland Chinese visitors to its flagship property in the world’s biggest gambling hub.

Galaxy, one of six licensed operators in Macau, said full-year net profit was HK$7.4 billion ($950 million), up from HK$3 billion in the prior year. The result was in line with the average estimate of analysts for HK$7.5 billion in a Thomson Reuters poll.

Revenue rose 38 percent to HK$56.7 billion, it said in a statement on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Its flagship property, the Galaxy Macau, has helped draw more visitors to Macau’s developing Cotai strip since the casino-resort opened in 2011. The strip lies across from the main Macau peninsula, which is home to the MGM Macau, the Wynn Macau and Galaxy’s smaller Starworld casino.

Due to a lack of space on the crowded main peninsula, casino operators are expanding their footprint in Cotai to capture a larger slice of the Macau market, which raked in gambling revenue of $38 billion last year.

Galaxy, with a stock market value of $18 billion, is the second-biggest gambling company in Macau after Sands China Ltd (1928.HK). Controlled by the Lui family of Hong Kong, Galaxy is expected to open a new phase of the Galaxy Macau in 2015.

    Among casino operators, Galaxy is armed with the biggest parcel of land on Cotai. The company’s Galaxy Macau flagship accounts for just 25 percent of its total allocated space on the strip.

    The stock was up 0.45 percent prior to the results on Tuesday, against a 0.3 percent fall in the benchmark Hang Seng Index .HSI.

    Reporting by Lee Chyen Yee and Farah Master; Editing by Chris Gallagher

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