Sun International posts higher profit, says preparing for any virus impact
JOHANNESBURG - South African hotel and casino operator Sun International reported a 91% jump in adjusted full-year earnings on Monday and said it was preparing its operations for any possible disruption due to the global coronavirus outbreak.
Late on Sunday, South African president Cyril Ramaphosa declared a national state of disaster as he announced a range of measures to contain the outbreak that has so far infected 61 and showed the first signs of internal transmission.
Measures to be taken include travel bans to countries such as Italy, Germany, China and the United States. The government will also prohibit gatherings of more than 100 people and cancel large events and celebrations, Ramaphosa said.
Sun International, which also has operations in Latin America, said it was still too early to forecast what impact the virus might have, but that it was taking all precautions “to ensure a safe and healthy environment” for guests and staff and “preparing operations for any possible disruption to trading”.
Adjusted headline earnings per share, the main profit measure in South Africa, for the year ended Dec. 31, rose to 605 cents per share from 316 cents per share a year ago due to lower interest and depreciation and a significantly lower tax rate.
Total income rose by 4% to 17.2 billion rand ($1.05 billion), primarily driven by above-market organic growth from key operations in South Africa and the impact of acquisitions made in Latin America during the prior year.
Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization was marginally up on the prior year at 4.6 billion rand, “with pleasing margin expansion achieved in South Africa, offset by the impact of unexpected social unrest and instability in Chile”, the company said.