Audrey D'Angelo

Investments in GrandWest casino in Cape Town and in a growing number of limited payout machines in four provinces contributed significantly to a big rise in interim revenue at Grand Parade Investments.

Revenue rose 36 percent to R328 million in the six months to December as slot machines were installed in bars, cafes and shops in the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Gauteng. A dividend of 15c a share was declared.

Grand Parade chief executive Alan Keet said yesterday that the company had achieved good growth and favourable returns from an increasingly diversified business, boosted by the continued success of the Burger King food franchise for which new outlets were being opened.

The newly established business of manufacturing limited payout machines in South Africa for the first time was expected to grow and diversify into other slot machines. But a key focus for the rest of the year would be on growing the revenue and profitability of the “slots business”, mainly through good site selection and management, as well as maintaining a good product mix.

Grand Parade owns and operates five limited payout machine gaming licences, including the newly acquired share capital and loan accounts in HotSlots in Gauteng. Grandslots in the Western Cape remained the best performing slots business in the country with an increase in revenue of 14.7 percent to R160.4m.

Keet said it was likely to remain the best performer because players invested more than in other provinces.

The group’s Kingdomslots remained the provincial leader in KwaZulu-Natal, raising revenue of R84.8m, 19 percent more than the previous year.

The roll-out of machines in Gauteng had been hampered by delays in granting licences in the previous period but the group had now increased the number of machines from 233 to 330 at the end of the six months, with revenue rising by 30 percent to R24.8m.

Burger King now has five outlets in the Western Cape, where trading remains brisk and turnover is exceeding budget by 65 percent.

Construction of five new stores in Gauteng started in December last year. three opened for business on February 1 with the other two due to be operational next month.

A store in KwaZulu-Natal was due to open in the coming year. The stock fell 2c to R2.84.