February 26, 2009 / 1:55 PM / in 10 years

UPDATE 1-Sun Int. sees lower FY profit, pays no interim div

* H1 adj. headline EPS down 2 pct

* FY profit seen lower than in ‘08

* No interim div, to preseve cash

(Adds details)

JOHANNESBURG, Feb 26 (Reuters) - South Africa’s biggest casino and hotel operator Sun International Ltd (SUIJ.J) forecast lower full-year earnings after first-half profit dipped, and it opted to save cash by paying no interim dividend.

The company, which owns South Africa’s Sun City resort as well as properties in southern Africa and Chile, said revenue rose 6 percent to 4 billion rand ($401.1 million). Adjusted headline EPS slipped 2 percent to 334 cents in the six months to end December.

Sun said trading at its casinos remained subdued given a consumer downturn in its main market of South Africa and that a depressed global economy would hit occupancy rates at its hotels and resorts in the second half.

“Adjusted headline earnings per share for the full year is therefore expected to be below that achieved for 2008,” the company said in a statement.

Headline EPS is the main profit gauge in South Africa and strips out certain one-off, non-trading and financial items.

The company said it had decided not to pay an interim dividend. Its shares dipped 0.62 percent to 80 rand by 1343 GMT, lagging a firmer Johannesburg All-share index .JALSH. (Reporting by Rebecca Harrison)

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