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Lotto suspension drags Belle’s Jan-Sept income

BELLE Corp.’s consolidated net income decreased to 18 percent to P2.18 billion in the first three quarters of 2019 from P2.66 billion in the same period last year, which was blamed on the temporary suspension of lottery operations in the country earlier this year.

In a disclosure on Friday, the listed property developer reported that its consolidated revenues dropped by 11 percent to P5.77 billion in January to September from P6.46 billion year-on-year.

It also reported that Pacific Online Systems Corp., which is 50.1-percent-owned by Belle subsidiary Premium Leisure Corp., dragged the firm’s topline figures.

Pacific Online, which leases online betting equipment to the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), saw its revenues plunge by 51 percent to P766 million in the first nine months from P1.56 billion a year ago.

“This was due to competition from small town lottery and the temporary suspension of lottery and keno operations by the PCSO during the third quarter of 2019,” Belle explained.

The government suspended these operations for a few days in July after allegations of corruption surfaced. Operations resumed after it was found that there was no misconduct.

“With the suspension [already] lifted, Pacific Online is working closely with the PCSO and its network of agents to boost the attractiveness of the pari-mutuel games it offers, and is working to implement cost efficiency measures across its operations,” Belle said.

Despite this setback, the property firm said its core operations remained stable.

Its real estate segment’s revenues grew by 4 percent to P2.63 billion in the first nine months from P2.52 billion a year ago.

The bulk of this amount — P2 billion — was attributed to the lease of the land and buildings making up the City of Dreams Manila to Melco Resorts and Entertainment (Philippines) Corp. The rest — P624 million — came from the Tagaytay Highlands complex.

Premium Leisure’s nine-month earnings hit P1.6 billion, down 11 percent from P1.79 billion a year ago, on the back of weaker revenues for the period.

Belle shares fell by 2 centavos or 0.99 percent to end at P2 each on Friday.

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