Niveus, the gambling and liquor interests unbundled from Hosken Consolidated Investments in 2012, narrowed its interim loss to R6m, a fifth of the matching period’s R34m net loss.

The group sold its 57% stake in wine and brandy producer KWV for R1.15bn in May, less than its book value of R1.7bn, contributing to a R71m accounting loss.

Excluding this loss for discontinued operations, Niveus made a R65m profit, it said in its results statement on Wednesday.

Despite the accounting loss, Niveus declared an 18c interim dividend from income reserves — nearly treble the matching period’s 7c per share interim dividend.

Niveus’s continuing operations include Galaxy, which had increased its electronic bingo terminals to 1,886 at September 30 from 1,642 at March 31. The average monthly income per terminal was R19,727 for the six months to end-September.

Niveus also owns Vukani, which increased its number of limited payout machines to 5,341 from 5,265. The average gross gaming revenue per machine increased to R19,989 in September from R18,092 in the same month the previous year.

Both Galaxy and Vukani are in legal disputes with the government over the National Gambling Amendment Bill and Liquor Amendment Bill respectively, claiming the proposed laws are unfair to their businesses.

“The group continued with its own project to counter illegal gambling and we hope that the DTI [Department of Trade and Industry] and South African Police Service will also take action against these illegal internet establishments in due course. The North Gauteng High Court ruled that certain internet cafes are facilitating illegal gambling and ordered the closure of the site that was the subject of the judgment,” the company said.

Source: Business Day – Robert Laing