Date
24 July 2017
A stabilizing mass market is helping Macau's gaming industry regain its footing. Still, it continues to face headwinds from Beijing's anti-corruption crackdown and a slowing Chinese economy. Photo: Vancouver Sun
A stabilizing mass market is helping Macau's gaming industry regain its footing. Still, it continues to face headwinds from Beijing's anti-corruption crackdown and a slowing Chinese economy. Photo: Vancouver Sun

Macau gaming market stabilizing, Sands boss says

Macau’s gaming industry is bottoming out, helped by a stabilizing mass market.

That’s the takeaway from Las Vegas Sands Corp. after its Macau unit announced fourth-quarter earnings that fell less than analysts’ estimates.

Chairman Sheldon Adelson said the gaming market has stabilized, having hit bottom in the mass market, Bloomberg reports.

“Some of the numbers put out and experienced through December and January … indicate to me that that’s the case,” he said.

Sands China Ltd. said adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization fell 19 percent to US$581.2 million in the fourth quarter.

The figure beat the market estimate of US$555 million, Karen Tang, an analyst at Deutsche Bank A.G., said.

Macau is facing headwinds as China’s crackdown on corruption and a slowing economy have scared away high-end gamblers from the world’s largest gambling market.

While casino takings dropped 21.2 percent in December — falling for the 19th straight month — that represented the smallest year-on-year decline since last January.

Sands China has seen its share price slump 30 percent in 2015.

Still, the stock gained 14 percent in the fourth quarter as the decline in mass-market revenue has narrowed. It rose as much as 4.9 percent to HK$25.75 in Hong Kong trading, reaching the highest intraday level since Jan. 6.

Las Vegas Sands, the world’s largest casino operator, earlier posted fourth-quarter sales and profit that missed analysts’ estimates as gambling revenue in the key markets of Macau and Singapore declined.

Sands, which has the most casinos among other foreign operators in Macau, plans to open later this year the US$2.7 billion Parisian Macao, its fifth project featuring a half-size replica of the Eiffel Tower.

The Macau government wants gaming houses to build more non-gaming entertainment facilities to attract tourists.

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FL/RA

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