Las Vegas Sands Q3 Loss Better than Expected, But Revenue Misses Street Forecasts by $65.84 Million

Posted on: October 21, 2020, 02:17h. 

Last updated on: October 21, 2020, 03:25h.

Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS) posted a third-quarter loss of 74 cents a share, beating Wall Street estimates by five cents. But the operator said revenue was $586 million, missing analysts’ projection by $65.84 million. That’s an 82 percent year-over-year drop in sales.

Sands Cotai Central
Sands Macau. LVS reported better-than-expected third-quarter numbers today and is optimistic about Macau. (Image: Jerome Favre/Bloomberg)

The Las Vegas Sands is the largest US gaming company by market capitalization. Adjusted property earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of -$203 million was far better than the consensus estimate of -$294.7 million. Despite another challenging quarter, an extension of the havoc wrought on the global gaming industry by the coronavirus pandemic, Sands Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson sounds upbeat.

We remain optimistic about the eventual complete recovery of travel and tourism spending across our markets, as well as our future growth prospects,” he said in a statement.

Heading into the report, some analysts expressed concern about the lack of near-term visibility regarding Macau, the largest market for LVS.

Strong Finances

As was expected, Sands called attention to its balance sheet, which is one of the industry’s tidiest.

On Sept. 30, the Palazzo operator had $2.38 billion in unrestricted funds and access to $3.45 billion in a credit revolver across its US, China, and Singapore units. Excluding lease financing, the debt stood at $13.89 billion at the end of the third quarter. LVS added its board of directors “extended the expiration of its stock repurchase program for two years, from Nov. 2, 2020, to Nov. 2, 2022.” That after it suspended its dividend earlier this year.

CFO Patrick Dumont said the company wants to return to being a dividend payer but declined to pinpoint a time frame for when the payout will return.

During the September quarter, Sands spent $376 million on construction and enhancements, $279 million of which was allocated in Macau and $76 million in Singapore, where the operator runs Marina Bay Sands (MBS). On a conference call with analysts, Adelson said MBS was profitable during the July through September period.

“We are encouraged that Marina Bay Sands was profitable and we remain committed to Singapore expansion,” said Adelson.

The LVS boss noted that enhancements at MBS will likely be delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. But he reiterated that the operator is intent on contributing to Singapore’s efforts to become a prime business and tourist destination.

Macau Updates

Sands operates five integrated resorts in the Chinese territory, levering share price to what’s becoming an increasingly sluggish recovery in the world’s largest gaming center.

On the conference call, Sands China COO Grant Chum said October is the first month since January the company’s properties are seeing “impressive patronage,” citing strength in the premium mass segment.

Chum adds that month-to-date, the operator’s non-rolling daily drop is about $20 million, or roughly 30 percent of year-earlier levels. But that’s enough to put LVS on a “slightly positive” EBITDA trajectory for October.

The bulk of Sands’ Macau clientele is classified as either base or premium mass, the former of which is still delivering “relatively low” visitation, said Chum.

The executive notes the SAR’s VIP recovery is slower, which is to be expected. But he called volume among that demographic “reasonable” this month.