Las Vegas Sands' Macau Operations Hurt Due to Coronavirus

Casino operator Las Vegas Sands said that visits to Macau casinos were down as much as 80% as a result of the coronavirus epidemic.
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Las Vegas Sands  (LVS) - Get Report is feeling the pinch in Macau as the coronavirus, which is spreading in China, has severely hurt travel to the world’s largest gambling hub.

Las Vegas Sands said that visits to Macau casinos were down as much as 80% as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. 

The disease has killed 170 people and infected another 7,921.

Las Vegas Sands draws 64% of its total revenue from its Macau operations.

The company said it has more than $5 billion of capital projects planned for Macau and Singapore and set to be completed in the next few years. 

For fourth-quarter 2019 Las Vegas Sands reported adjusted property earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization for Macau of $811 million, up 3% from a year earlier.

“I would welcome the opportunity to invest billions of dollars to expand our hotel entertainment, retail and [meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions] facilities in Macau," Chairman and Chief Executive Sheldon Adelson said on the company's Thursday earnings call with analysts. 

"I believe Macau has the opportunity to become the greatest business and leisure tourism destination in the world and the MICE capital of Asia.” 

Las Vegas Sands said that its MICE business in Macau attracted 800,000 attendees in 2019. The company estimates that it represents as much as 90% of the MICE market.

Gross gambling revenue in the quarter fell 8% year over year for the entire Macau gambling region.

The company said that October traffic in Macau was “terrific” but visits decelerated in December.

“I think we'd reflect the market in that respect. A very different place in December than it was in October. And I think that's all I can say on that issue. It's pretty clear to everybody,” Adelson said. 

Las Vegas Sands shares at last check were up 2.2% at $66.12.