Macau boom and strong Singapore debut cut Las Vegas Sands losses
Booming gambling volumes in Macau and a successful debut in Singapore helped casino developer Las Vegas Sands narrow losses and boost sales to a record level in the second quarter.
The US parent of locally listed Sands China saw revenue at its three Macau properties - the Venetian, Sands and Four Seasons - rise 41.5 per cent from a year ago to US$1.03 billion. Macau quarterly revenues broke the billion-dollar mark for the first time as gambling volumes from high-rollers soared. Profit rose even faster on cost-cutting measures, as the three Macau properties saw earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation climb 73.9 per cent to a record US$307.04 million in the three months to the end of June.
The company controlled by billionaire Sheldon Adelson said it continued to negotiate for approvals from the Macau government to import the construction workers it needed to resume full-scale work on its Cotai resort complex.
The project will feature a 6,000-room Sheraton, Shangri-La and Traders casino-hotel complex with a total projected cost of US$4.42 billion. Its opening date has been delayed from the second quarter to the third quarter of next year and Adelson said yesterday it was 'too early to tell' if further delays due to the labour issue would be necessary.
Sands China acting chief executive Michael Leven said the company would appoint a recruiting firm to help hire a replacement for former chief executive Steve Jacobs, who was fired last week. 'The candidate pool is a global search,' Leven said.
In Singapore, where Las Vegas Sands partly opened its US$6 billion Marina Bay Sands on April 27, the city-state's second casino booked US$94.5 million in ebitda on US$216.4 million in revenue during its first 65 days of business.
The resulting ebitda margin of 43.7 per cent looks sky high compared with Macau's 23 to 33 per cent margins. The difference is due to the lower gaming tax rates in Singapore, and executives said margins would improve further as the new property adds more hotel rooms, shopping outlets and entertainment offerings.
Company wide, net losses narrowed to US$4.7 million during the quarter, down from a loss of US$178.3 million a year earlier. Hefty depreciation charges and dividend payments on preferred shares continue to weigh on the bottom line at the US firm, which has not reported a profitable quarter since 2007.