EARNINGS of Bloomberry Resorts Corp. slumped by 40% in the first quarter of the year, pulled down by lower forex gains alongside higher interest expenses.

In a statement issued Wednesday, the operator of Solaire Resort & Casino said consolidated net income stood at P2.2 billion from January to March, lower than the P3.69 billion it posted in the same period a year ago.

The listed firm noted that foreign exchange gains were “meaningfully lower” for the period, while interest expenses jumped due to the full drawdown of a P73.5-billion syndicated loan it raised in April 2018.

“The proceeds of the syndicated loan were used to retire previous debt facilities and finance the acquisition of land from PAGCOR (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.) where Solaire and its Phase 2 expansion area is located within Entertainment City,” the Razon-led company said in a statement.

Bloomberry acquired the 16-hectare property in Parañaque for P37.33 billion in April last year, giving it room to further expand Solaire.

The lower profit came amid a five percent increase in consolidated net revenues to P10.77 billion in the January to March period.

Consolidated gross gaming revenues (GGR) — which includes the operations of Jeju Sun Hotel & Casino in South Korea — also ended flat at P13.87 billion.

For Solaire alone, GGR was down by one percent at P13.62 billion after VIP volumes dropped by six percent to P185.9 billion. VIP revenues accordingly fell by 16% to P5.98 billion as hold rate also slipped 3.22% from 3.61% in the first quarter of 2018.

In contrast, mass table revenues were up by 23% to P3.997 billion, after hold rate improved to 35.1% from 33.2% in the same period a year ago. This followed a 17% increase in mass table drops to P11.38 billion.

Electronic gaming machine (EGM) coin-ins stood at P54.66 billion, four percent higher year on year. Revenues from the segment rose by nine percent to P3.64 billion.

Meanwhile, Jeju Sun’s gaming revenues jumped 395% to P254 million, as it offered competitive casino programs.

Consolidated non-gaming revenues for the quarter reached P1.92 billion, 25% higher year on year, as strong performance in Solaire offset the decline in Jeju Sun.

Solaire posted non-gaming revenues of P1.91 billion, higher by 27% due to the opening of more boutiques at its retail strip called The Shoppes. This is despite lower hotel occupancy rates of 87.8%, from 93.6% last year, due to the closure and planned conversion of the Grand Ballroom into a new gaming space. — Arra B. Francia