Las Vegas Sands has seen net revenue improve in the third quarter of the year, reaching $1.01 billion, up from $857 million in the same period last year. After the release of the company's financial results, chief executive Rob Goldstein said in a conference call he could not be confident that Macau operations would be profitable during the next quarter, despite a significant easing of visa restrictions.
In spite of the ongoing impact of pandemic-related restrictions in Asia during the quarter, Sands benefitted from recovery in Singapore, where many of such measures have now been lifted. Operations in the city-state have returned to near-normal, with Marina Bay Sands bringing in $756 million, a sharp contrast with Macau, where revenue remained well below pre-pandemic levels, at $258 million.
Operating loss for the quarter was $177 million, reduced from $316 million in the prior year. Net loss from continuing operations in the third quarter of 2022 was $380 million, also down from $594 million in Q3, 2021. Consolidated adjusted property EBITDA hiked to $191 million, paired against $47 million a year ago.
The disappointing Macau performance, with EBITDA for the region at a negative $152 million, was primarily attributed to the continuation of Covid-19 preventive measures in the gaming hub and mainland China. These included a full lockdown introduced in July, which resulted in the lowest monthly revenue in Macau's history.
The path to recovery is unclear, although a significant easing of visa restrictions has now been introduced, which could help improve operations. Grant Chum, CEO of Sands China, noted that group visas had represented a quarter of Sands’ Macau visitors.
Goldstein also said he believes the company should be careful in regard to predictions of the future behavior of EBITDA. “Predictions of Macau had been erroneous the last couple of years because we don’t know who’s going to come and we don’t know when they will close the market," he pointed out. "It’s been stopping for so long. It’s kind of silly for us to pontificate on exact gains in EBITDA.”
However, he did say that there is a possibility that, with the restrictions’ lifting, visitation will return. “And that is going to happen at some point. But I think it’s difficult for us to tell you the fourth quarter could be EBITDA-positive without knowing what effect the visitors team will have in November, and then also now knowing how zero Covid will happen,” he stated.
In a press release, he said that while travel restrictions continued to impact the company’s financial results this past quarter, the company was particularly "pleased" to see further progress in Singapore. The executive added that the brand remains “enthusiastic about the opportunity to welcome more guests back to our properties" as greater volumes of visitors are able to travel to both Singapore and Macau.
“Our investments in our team members, our communities and our industry-leading Integrated Resort property portfolio position us exceedingly well to deliver future growth as travel restrictions subside and the recovery in travel and tourism progresses,” he noted.
Sands officials also gave some information on the tender process for Macau’s next batch of gaming concessions, which are set to last 10 years. Sands, as well as other six companies -including other five current operators- have submitted their bids for a new license.
Chum said he expects the whole process to be complete by the end of the year. “We obviously welcome the smooth progress in the process. And we still do expect the entire process to be completed by the end of the year, as previously stated by the government," he noted.
While Goldstein was optimistic about Singapore after Marina Bay Sands brought in the lion's share of the third quarter revenue, he stated he is confident that numbers from the venue could further rise to well above pre-Covid levels. “As much as we like the numbers currently, we think there are much better days ahead for Singapore. That market and that destination have grown quite a bit in terms of the Asian tourism world, and I think our numbers will reflect that in the years ahead,” he said.