Photographer: Jerome Favre/Bloomberg

Mass results continued improvement in Q1, VIP sector to decline – Brokerage

Brokerage Morgan Stanley estimates that while VIP results declined by 3 per cent in the first three months of this year from the previous quarter to about US$628 million, mass-market revenue has increased by 11 per cent sequentially to some US$2.3 billion.

Gross gaming revenue went up by 8 per cent quarter-to-quarter in the first quarter of this year to US$3 billion, with gaming operators informing Morgan Stanley analysts that the rise was mainly due to improvements in the mass segment.

‘Many companies have highlighted that growth was mainly driven by mass, especially premium mass and that VIP remained sluggish,’ the financial services company indicated in a report.

However, despite the recovery, Morgan Stanley estimates operators will report a corporate EBITDA of US$181 million for the January to March period, a 23 per cent drop from the previous quarter due to seasonal weaker retail, hotel and F&B revenues, plus higher operating expenses.

The brokerage estimates Melco Resorts will see the best improvement in property EBITDA for the first quarter in its local properties, a 15 per cent improvement to some US$44 million, followed by Sands China with an 8 per cent rise to some US$51 million, followed by Wynn Macau with a 2 per cent improvement to US$40 million in positive property results.

The same three gaming operators are expected to report the best improvement in mass and slot results, with Sands to see a 20 per cent rise in mass results (US$633 million, followed by Wynn with 13 per cent (US$317 million) and Melco Resorts with a 12 per cent improvement (US$393 million).

Meanwhile, SJM Holdings was expected to see the worst first-quarter EBITDA results, some HK$223 million (US$28.6 million) in property losses, making the group the only operator expected to remain in the red for the period.

Analysts have previously attributed the negative results reported by SJM on the group’s ongoing expenses to prepare the opening of its first Cotai property, Grand Lisboa Palace.