Macau will be ‘transformed’ by bridge to HK and Zhuhai, says Galaxy Entertainment chairman

Lui Che-woo adds the firm will turn its attention to non-gaming activities when new link opens

PUBLISHED : Friday, 05 August, 2016, 9:52pm
UPDATED : Friday, 05 August, 2016, 9:52pm

Galaxy Entertainment Group chairman Lui Che-woo expects Macau’s gaming market and tourist industry to be transformed after the completion of the planned Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge, which could be open by 2020.

“Macau’s hospitality market will see a new phase of development when the bridge starts operating,” he said in an interview with South China Morning Post.

He added the firm will turn its attention to non-gaming activities, as rising number of holiday makers and business travellers stay in its hotels in the former Portuguese enclave.

Demand from mainland high rollers has weakened considerably after Beijing’s aggressive drive to crackdown on corruption.

But Lui still remains upbeat about Macau’s gaming revenue, particularly after the latest July figures showed it fell less than estimated.

Gross gaming revenue (GGR) fell 4.5 per cent to 17.8 billion patacas (HK$17.3 billion) in the month, marking 26 consecutive months of declines, but down from 11.9 per cent in June, according to data from Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.

CICC analyst Chris Kwan wrote in a research note the monthly figure was the lowest decline in the year to date, with the exception of February, which included Chinese New Year.

He expected to see another improvement this month as it is traditionally a strong month both in terms of gross gaming revenue and visitor count, due to the summer break.

With the end of the European Football Championships and the arrival of summer, GGR per day picked up from 529 million patacas per day in June to 573 million patacas per day in July, according to Deutsche Bank analyst Karen Tang in a research note.

“We think GGR per day will further strengthen in August to 590 million to 620 million patacas per day given Wynn Palace’s opening on August 22,” Tang said.

Galaxy, due to announce its second quarter results later this month, has said the plans for its Galaxy Macau phase three development were progressing well and details will be announced later.

It is expected to be more mass and family oriented, with significant meetings and conferences facilities. Site investigation works are expected to begin this year.

In April, the casino operator reported revenue of HK$13.4 billion for the three months to March, up 1 per cent sequentially and down 2 per cent year-on-year.

It said adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation was HK$2.4 billion, down 2 per cent sequentially and up 6 per cent year-on-year.

Occupancy rates for its seven hotels, comprising more than 4,400 rooms including The Ritz-Carlton Macau and Banyan Tree Macau, were virtually full.

Asking about the prospect of its casino license renewal, Lui said: “I cannot speak on behalf of the Macau government. We do our best to support Macau government policy.”

Galaxy, one of the six gaming concessionaires in Macau, is due to renew its license in 2022.