Game operator in Macau Sands China does not recommend 2019 profit distribution
At the board meeting, “the members decided not to recommend the payment of a final dividend for the year ended December 31, 2019”, according to a statement.
The board of directors “recognizes the current and potential material impact (…) of the pandemic on the global economy and the important role that the company plays in helping Macau,” said the operator, who operates five casinos in the gambling capital of the world.
“The company has strong capital, financing and liquidity and remains committed to the execution of its ongoing investments in Macau,” said the same note.
According to data released this week by the Games Inspection and Coordination Department (DICJ), gross revenues from VIP gaming in the first quarter of this year fell by more than 60% in Macau compared to the same period last year.
Revenues from the big bookmakers in the first three months of the year were 14.8 billion patacas (1.7 billion euros), against 37.2 billion patacas (4.3 billion euros) raised in the first quarter of 2019.
On Tuesday, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimated that Macau’s economy is expected to decline 29.6% this year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
With an economy highly dependent on gambling, Macau saw total gambling revenues drop by 79.7% in March, compared to the same period in 2019, a month when measures to contain the Covid-19 outbreak practically closed the territory’s borders.
The latest official figures also point to a 60% drop in the first three months of the year, after historical losses in gaming revenues were recorded in February, in a month in which the casinos were closed for 15 days.
Macau casinos closed 2019 with revenues of 292.46 billion patacas (about 32.43 billion euros).
Macau, which has identified 45 infected since the outbreak of the new coronavirus, has not reported new cases in a week.
After a first wave of ten cases in February, the territory was 40 days without identifying any infection. However, as of mid-March, 35 more infected people were identified, all imported cases. Of the total infected, 16 have already been discharged.
Globally, the Covid-19 pandemic has already claimed more than 145,000 deaths and infected more than 2.1 million people in 193 countries and territories.
The disease is transmitted by a new coronavirus detected in late December in Wuhan, a city in central China.
To fight the pandemic, governments sent four billion people home (more than half the world’s population), closed non-essential trade and drastically reduced air traffic, paralyzing entire sectors of the world economy.