peaking to the media at the SJM cocktail reception to celebrate the Chinese National Day at the Macau Tower, Ambrose So said the company’s future would remain "strong and fundamental despite the decrease in Macau’s gaming revenue as a whole in September".
"By adopting effective measures to cut costs and generate more revenue, we will be on a very solid ground to move on and SJM can retain its position of dominating 27 % of the total market share," he added.
Although mainland China had toughened the Individual Visit Scheme, So said none of their employees would be sacked, and instead a number of them would be allocated to work on SJM’s new development projects. He also pointed out that SJM’s retirement scheme did not restrict staff to resign at the age of retirement but allowed them "to request to remain working in the company depending on their health condition".
"SJM’s financial status is sound and stable as we aren’t like the other gaming operators which have huge projects needed to be complete and also have to solve problems arising from financing," So said. However, the director admitted that it would be "difficult times ahead" in the view of "the global financial market and the overall consumer behavior".
"But gambling itself isn’t a discretionary spending. In Las Vegas it’s most hardly hit by the consumer area as 70 % of its revenue come from consumer expenditure whilst 30 % from gambling," he said. "Likewise in Macau which is a sino-centric market and relies mainly on gambling, I think impacts in the gaming industry will be limited and not be as significant as those in the consumer sector," he added.
On the other hand, the SAR government announced last week restrictions to curb the growth of three types of non-local laborers including casinos’ pit supervisors. Dr So said he did not expect any impact with this measure on SJM as the company "has the highest percentage of local employees in the market".
Meanwhile, managing director Stanley Ho also said last week that, due to "the external effects of the economic downturn", SJM would "suspend certain development projects", but added that "some will continue to move on and no employees will be sacked".
When asked about the Four Seasons Hotel’s attempt to sell its top-floor rooms as residential units, Ho said he "resolutely opposed" such a decision as the concession contract stated that "gaming operators are forbidden to be involved in other kinds of businesses in Macau".
In addition, Ambrose So said that a full operational license for Hotel Grand Lisboa was expected to be given by the end of this year as "there are still certain details left to be discussed with the authorities."