Las Vegas Sands Divulges Expansion Plans During Quarterly Conference Call

Posted on: April 22, 2019, 09:13h. 

Last updated on: April 22, 2019, 09:13h.

Las Vegas Sands revealed its expansion plans during its company’s 2019 first-quarter earnings call with investors, and executives say the strategy is to build instead of acquire.

Las Vegas Sands casino resort Singapore
Las Vegas Sands is fixated on continued investments at its current properties such as Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. (Image: Seong-joon Cho/Getty)

Chief Financial Officer Patrick Dumont explained that the company is focused on its primary operating markets: Macau and Singapore. In total, Sands has committed more than $5.3 billion to expansion and renovation projects in the two areas.

In Macau, $2 billion is being spent to build The Londoner at the Sands Cotai Central complex. The spend will overhaul the 370-room St. Regis Tower and 290-suite Four Seasons Tower into a West End-themed property.

In Singapore, $3.3 billion is being spent to expand Marina Bay Sands, the country’s iconic postcard staple that has become the gold standard of the integrated casino resort.

Billionaire CEO Sheldon Adelson was absent from the call. The 85-year-old is battling non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Folding on Mergers and Acquisitions

The biggest takeaway from the Las Vegas Sands Q1 conference call was that the company isn’t much interested in buying current properties. Sands is finalizing a deal to sell its Sands Bethlehem casino in Pennsylvania to a Native American tribe for $1.3 billion.

For us it’s really tough to get comfortable with an M&A opportunity,” Dumont told investors and analysts. “I think it’s hard to look at those opportunities and say that they are a better use of our capital than what we can do with our development capability.”

“Our focus is on development of our existing markets in Macau, which has been a tremendous market for us historically and we believe will be even stronger in the future, as well as in Singapore and some of the new jurisdictions in Asia. That’s where we’re focused. I don’t think you’ll see us do M&A in the near term,” the CFO concluded.

Japan Focus

“New jurisdictions in Asia” of course refers to Japan. The three forthcoming commercial casino resorts are thought to be the biggest prize in the gaming industry since Macau welcomed gaming operators more than a decade ago.

Sands Chief Operating Officer Rod Goldstein says the company is “deep into it” and “committed” to winning one of the three gaming licenses.

“We’re looking at decades of investing many billions of dollars. But we don’t go into markets and look for a cheap way to do things. Sheldon’s approach has always been scale. It’s been dramatic. It’s design-driven. It’s a very, very special way of approaching a market,” Goldstein explained.

The Japanese federal government is in the final stages of setting the regulatory environment for its gaming industry. Some of the revealed details include the casino’s accompanying hotel must be at least 100,000 square meters (1.1 million square feet), Japanese locals will be required to pay a JPY 6,000 ($53.60) entry fee, and the gaming space cannot make up more than three percent of the resort’s square footage.

Potential licensees bidding say the total investment will be in the several billions of dollars range. Melco Resorts CEO Lawrence Ho went so far as to say he prefers “not to constrain our dreams with price tags.”