Galaxy Entertainment Group (HKEx stock code: 27) seems to have mastered the difficult Macau market ahead of its competitors and was able to post impressive numbers in their Interim Results for 1H 2016. Perhaps it is a sign of good fortune to come for all Macau operators that in the 26th month of overall decline in the market, GEG posted a profit of HKD2.6 billion for the first half of the year, which is incidentally 26 percent higher than for the same period last year [1H GEG net profit attributable to shareholders (“NPAS”) of $2.6 billion, up 26% year-on-year].

The numbers were not all related to a turn-around in increased revenue however, which was only 4 percent. The bottom line was bolstered by cost controls that allowed for HKD800 million in savings and according to local media, Galaxy has identified another HKD300 million in possible savings for the remainder of the year.

The company was able to reduce spending without resorting to firing any workers, and they are ahead of the curve in preparation for expanding their business in the former Portuguese enclave with a focus on non-gaming entertainment.

Among other optimistic notes in the company’s release to the media today, Dr. Lui Che Woo, Chairman of GEG said: GEG supports the objectives in the recently released Government reports and we continue to enhance our non-gaming offerings to help diversify and grow both GEG revenues and the Macau economy. Moving forward to the second half of 2016 and beyond, we will continue our focus on the mass market while maintaining prudent cost control,” said the chairman, referring to the government’s “Interim Review of Gaming Liberalization for Games of Fortune Research Report, Five-Year Development Plan and the Tourism Industry Development Master Plan”.

In July, vice chair of Galaxy Entertainment Group, Francis Lui Yiu Tung told local press that Galaxy Macau‘s US$5.16 billion Phase III and IV were on schedule and would focus on mass gaming and MICE offerings.  Galaxy Phase III is expected to commence construction before the end of 2016 or early 2017 with Phase IV beginning some time next year. The vice chairman said that 97 percent of the developments would be non-gaming, and that table allocations were not a critical factor in the company’s development plans.

Mr. Lui also said at the time that the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, when completed would boost tourism and assist the local MICE industry.

Although no details of gaming or other expansion in Macau have been announced, earlier this year it was learned that Galaxy intends to create an “Avatar” themed park at galaxy Macau as well as develop non-gaming attractions on neighboring Hengqin island. Opinions are mixed on whether that development will help, harm, or have a neutral effect on other gaming operators in Macau.