alaxy Entertainment Group on Thursday reported a HKD 2.8 billion (USD 361 million) loss for 2020 first half, reversing a profit of HKD 6.7 billion (USD 864.5 M) made in the same period a year ago. Galaxy Entertainment’s revenue declined by 76% to HKD 6.2 billion (USD 800 M) from HKD 26.2 billion in the same period last year.
The Macau casino operator blamed the absence of tourists amid the coronavirus pandemic for the loss. “Covid-19 has had an adverse impact on our financial results in [the second quarter] and the first half of 2020, as mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau faced travel restrictions and social distancing,” Galaxy Chairman Lui Che-woo said in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange, as reported by the South China Morning Post. “These restrictions resulted in a significant reduction in visitor arrivals and subsequent decline in revenue.”
“We do acknowledge it is hard to determine the speed of recovery with anticipated progressive opening of travel restrictions and expected social distancing within our resorts. Further, we are also mindful that consumer sentiment has been impacted by a slower global economy, ongoing trade tensions and currency fluctuations, among others. These events have been impacting consumer sentiment and subsequent spending habits,” the company said.
The easing of travel restrictions could bring some relief for the industry. Residents of Zhuhai have been able to apply for tourist visas to Macau since Wednesday, and this will be expanded to cover all residents of China’s southern Guangdong province starting August 26.
Casino stocks surged on Tuesday on news of the tourist visas. Sands China led the gains, rising by about 10 percent, followed by Galaxy Entertainment, which rose 5.5 percent.