Golden Horse expands

2008-09-04 00:00

Pietermaritzburg's Golden Horse Casino will invest R75 million in major refurbishments over the next nine months.

This news follows the release of gaming and entertainment group Gold Reef Resorts’ interim results for the six months ended June 30, 2008. They show that the local casino was among the star performers in the group during a challenging time.

Although it has been a difficult period for consumer-related sectors, Gold Reef Resorts’ group financial director, Jarrod Friedman, told The Witness that the Golden Horse posted an improved earnings-before-interest, taxation, depreciation, amortisation and rentals (Ebitdar) margin of 46,3% — the only casino in the group to have grown its margin.

Overall revenue increased by six percentage points to R117,4 million, while tables showed a 16,4 percentage point improvement in revenue.

Friedman said the nine-month revamp will include the gaming floor, hotel, restaurants and conference facilities.

General manager Patrick Beney told The Witness that the immediate projects include the launch of an upmarket “ladies’ contemporary bar”, two fast-food restaurants and a 120% increase in the number of parking bays, bringing the total to 864 bays.

The project is scheduled for completion in June next year.

Beney said the 73-seater, R2,5-million bar will be next to Rosewoods.

“It is aimed at a mature clientele. There will be a cover charge and entertainment. Food will be served at the bar,” said Beney.

The two new fast-food restaurants are Galito’s — a national franchise featuring flame-grilled Portuguese chicken — and A Taste of Asia, an “independent” venue.

The two, which represent a R3 million investment, will have a combined capacity of 60 and a common seating area.

A total of 474 new parking bays are being developed, including 375 new bays on one side of the infield, with a further 99 bays on the other side.

Beney said a bus shelter will be built as the casino intends to run a shuttle service for patrons.

The parking area will be completed within six to eight weeks while the restaurants and the new bar will be launched on December 1, 2008.

The Gold Reef Resorts group posted consolidated revenue growth of 29,4% to R1,1 billion, while adjusted Ebitdar rose 9,7% to R399,9 million.

Adjusted headline earnings per share came in at 58,6 cents.

kavith@witness.co.za

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