CAPE TOWN - Hotel gaming and entertainment group Tsogo Sun has cut down on expansion to contain its burgeoning debt as revenue from its overseas operations came under pressure during the year-end to March.

Tsogo said its net debt ballooned 4percent to R12.5billion during the period as the offshore division declined 11percent on the back of a R565million loss in hotels' total revenue.

It said spending on investments eased nearly 8percent to R3.25bn.

However, the group said its local hotels division shone during the period, lifting its revenue 8percent to R3.8bn on the back of the consolidation of Hospitality Property Fund (HPF) in 2016 and the opening of the SunSquare and StayEasy City Bowl hotels last year.

Chief executive Jacques Booysen described the numbers as positive under the circumstances.

“We are encouraged by the positive political developments that have resulted in improved sentiment despite this not yet translating into a significant improvement in trading,” Booysen said.

“However, we had a better performance in the second half of the year.”

Booysen said spending on investments eased 8percent to R3.25bn during the period.

Tsogo Sun bought Gameco in exchange for shares and R1.7bn in cash. Since November, Gameco has brought in cash of R624million.

It said total income rose 6percent to R14bn, with a 6percent growth in net gaming win assisted by a 9percent growth in food and beverage revenue as well as strong growth in property rental income.

Earnings before interest, income tax, depreciation, amortisation, property rentals, long-term incentives and ex- ceptional items (Ebitdar) increased 4percent to R5.3bn with an overall margin of 37.7percent.

Adjusted headline earnings per share (Aheps) declined by 5percent to 197.8 cents a share, due to the 4percent increase in the weighted average number of shares in issue following the Gameco acquisition.

Group adjusted headline earnings declined 1percent lower to R2bn as compared to last year.

Booysen said last month’s 1percentage point increase in value-added tax (VAT) to 15percent would impact on future earnings by R54m.

“We are not going to pass it to the consumers in the short term, so the group will absorb the VAT increase,” he said.

The group overall income for the gaming division decreased 1 percent on the prior year to R9bn despite a strong performance in the first quarter performance.

It said Ebitdar decreased by 4percent to R3.4bn as compared to last year. The group declared a final dividend per share of 70c a share, unchanged from last year.

Tsogo Sun Holdings shares declined 1.36 percent on the JSE yesterday to close at R22.50.