In its annual report, Sun International announced impressive achievements, including record dividends and significant expansion in its gambling companies. The report highlights the factors driving this success, such as the remarkable financial recovery of Sun City and the notable sales increase in urban gambling establishments. The group’s strategic efforts to expand alternative gaming activities and implement cost-cutting measures have also played a pivotal role.
The substantial growth in EBITDA to R3.3 billion reflects the positive impact of these initiatives. Moreover, adjusted headline earnings have experienced significant growth, increasing from R110 million to an impressive R1.1 billion. The company’s commitment to enhancing its performance is evident in the improvement of the adjusted EBITDA margin from 28.2% to 29.7%.
Urban gambling establishments have grown remarkably by 41% from 2021 to 2018. This has resulted in a noteworthy EBITDA of R2,445 million for the year. The group’s improved financial standing has allowed it to resume dividend payments, with a total cash payout of 329 cents per share, representing 75% of AHEPS.
Anthony Leeming, the CEO of Sun International Limited, expressed satisfaction with the company’s progress, “We are pleased about the substantial progress we have accomplished with our e-commerce approach, with SunBet showing great growth in all major measures … with revenue up 36%, gaming revenue from casinos, Sun Slots, and SunBet showed a notable rebound”, he said.
Sun International’s commitment to innovation is evident in the organic growth generated by over 5,000 operational Limited Payout Machines (LPMs) during the study period. The company aims to collaborate with regulators to expand the deployment of LPMs to the allocated 6,500 LPM posts.
Revenue for Sun Slots has seen impressive growth, rising from R1,242 million to R1,491 million. SunBet has also experienced significant revenue growth, with a remarkable 86% increase from 2021 to 2022 and a surge of 135% in the second half of the fiscal year. The company’s expansion efforts are further emphasized by acquiring a 70% stake in SunBet Africa Holdings for R58 million ($3.2 million).
Anthony Leeming emphasized the company’s licensing to operate online gambling and betting platforms in Ghana, Zambia, and Kenya. Sun International aims to introduce the SunBet brand and operational model to these regions, which offer promising long-term growth potential.
Despite initial challenges, Sun International’s resorts and hotels have strongly recovered. Domestic leisure, conferences, and events have surpassed 2019 levels, and the international leisure business has shown improvement in the latter half of the year.
Total revenue from resorts and hotels has surged by 65% year-on-year, exceeding R2.5 billion. The impressive performance is reflected in the adjusted EBITDA of R450 million, a significant improvement compared to the previous year’s loss of R56 million.
Looking onwards, Sun International believes it is well-positioned to provide cash returns to investors following the completion of its de-gearing program. The company expects SunBet’s revenue growth to continue, supported by the introduction of new slot offerings. The group’s omnichannel service, combined with its premium hotel and casino portfolio and the MVG program, aims to expand its share of the digital gaming market.
Despite the positive outlook, the company acknowledges the impact of load shedding on expenditures, with fuel charges ranging from R12 to R14 million. Sun International is actively exploring alternative energy plans to mitigate the effects of load shedding and ensure a favourable return on capital.