Las Vegas Sands, SJM Holdings Seen Gaining Macau Market Share

Posted on: September 15, 2020, 10:45h. 

Last updated on: September 15, 2020, 11:30h.

With new gaming and lodging offerings soon coming online, Sands China and SJM Holdings could gain market share from rival Macau operators, say analysts.

Macau rooms
With debuts of Londoner and Grand Lisboa Palace looming, Las Vegas Sands and SJM Holdings could win Macau market share. (Image: Wall Street Journal)

The world’s largest gaming center is still struggling with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. That’s prompting industry observers to speculate that the addition of new gaming amenities and hotel rooms won’t necessarily stoke near-term demand. Rather, analysts see fresh wares luring devoted Macau visitors away from other venues, because tourists like to try new establishments.

We expect that when Grand Lisboa Palace opens, coupled with a slow recovery in sector gaming revenues from the pandemic, the immediate impact will be [market] over-capacity, leading to market-share shifts among operators with SJM [Holdings] being the primary beneficiary,” according to Smartkarma Innovations, a Singapore-based research firm.

SJM Holdings put the finishing touches on its $5 billion Grand Lisboa Palace casino resort on the Cotai Strip earlier this year. But the official debut of that plush property was delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Construction on the venue wrapped up in 2019, and while the operator could open the property before the end of this year, analyst consensus is that Grand Lisboa will debut in the first quarter of 2021. The venue is SJM’s first on the Cotai Strip, though the operator has long been one of the dominant names in Macau’s gaming industry.

More Rooms on the Way

With the time line for license renewal now murky because of COVID-19, concessionaires are under some pressure to show dedication to revamping Macau’s ailing economy. That’s something SJM and Sands should accomplish with a spate of new rooms and gaming space..

Across the Lisboa Palace Hotel, Palazzo Versace Macau, and Karl Lagerfeld Hotel towers, Grand Lisboa Palace will feature 2,000 guest rooms, with almost 300,000 square feet of gaming area to accommodate 700 table games and 1,200 slot machines. The operator recently held a job fair, drawing 2,000 locals, 600 of which were offered roles on the spot.

Sands is doing its part with Londoner Macau, which is the company’s conversion of Sands Cotai Central.

The operator is slated to “open the Londoner [Macao] property in phases from financial year 2020 to financial year 2021, with an additional 290 new suites at Four Seasons, 600 suites at the Londoner Hotel, and 390 new suites at Londoner Court,” notes Smartkarma Innovations.

Maybe More Cash

It remains to be seen how new venues will affect earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for LVS and SJM. But Smartkarma analysts lean toward the latter as getting the bigger boost, because Grand Lisboa Palace is a new venue, while Londoner is a property revamp.

That’s not to say LVS is short of Macau catalysts. The operator is the largest there, and more levered to the mass and premium mass segments, which should hasten a rebound as more Chinese nationals take advantage of recent resumption of individual visit scheme (IVS) visa issuance.