Hong Kong-listed casino operator and developer NagaCorp Ltd, known for its flagship NagaWorld integrated resort in Phnom Penh, announced that they will pay out 100 per cent of net profits for the second half of 2020 to “loyal” shareholders the company says “stayed on faithfully with us” during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The dividend payment of $81 million, or 1.88 US cents per share, comes as NagaCorp reported on March 8 net profit of just over $102.3 million for the full-year 2020, on the back of a strong recovery in the second half of last year posted by NagaWorld.
The company said in the financial report: “The board has recommended an unprecedented 100 per cent dividend payout of net profits generated for the second half of 2020 as final dividend for the year ended December 31, 2020.
“[This is] a reward to the shareholders who believe in the long-term growth of the group despite today’s difficult times and in order to alleviate any sufferings, if any, of these loyal shareholders who have stayed on faithfully with us during the Covid-19 crisis.”
It explained that the proposed final dividend – and the interim dividend for the six months ended June 30 – in the aggregate amount of 2.17 US cents per share represent a dividend payout ratio of 92 per cent based on net profit for the year.
“For each six month period in the future years, the company shall review, assess and where appropriate, revise its dividend policy in accordance with the company’s revenues, global economic, Covid-19 conditions and other factors.
“This marks the group’s track record of uninterrupted relatively high annual dividend pay-out, with a total dividend distribution exceeding $1.5 billion since its IPO [initial public offering] in 2006,” NagaCorp added.
The company noted that while the hardest phases of the pandemic had compelled it to shutter casino operations for more than three months, the number of Covid-19 infections was relatively well contained in the Kingdom.
Since it resumed its casino businesses on July 8, NagaCorp said it “recorded an initial recovery rate – compared to the pre-closure period [in the first quarter of 2020] – of about 95 per cent for the mass-market segment and about 69 per cent for the VIP market segment.
“Despite the temporary closure of our casino operations for over three months and a reduced level of tourist visits to Cambodia in 2020, the group delivered relatively good financial results in the year.
“This was because the group was able to operate without much interruption in [the first quarter], and since the reopening of casino businesses on July 8, 2020 until December 31, 2020, the group recorded a sustained level of business volume recovery,” it said.
The company pointed out that the Kingdom will continue to seek more doses of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus jabs in a bid to keep pace with global vaccination drives and inoculate up to 80 per cent of the population, or four out of five people.
“The Chinese government has committed to donating one million doses of vaccine, with the first batch of 600,000 doses of vaccines having arrived on February 7, 2021, such that around 500,000 Cambodians could be vaccinated by April 2021,” it said.
On the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong, NagaCorp’s share price edged HK$0.04 (US$0.0052) or 0.40 per cent lower to close at HK$9.94 on March 10 for a market capitalisation of HK$43.15 billion, with 3.90 million shares traded.