Las Vegas Sands Will Abide by Founder Sheldon Adelson’s Vision
Las Vegas Sands Corp.’s
recently ascended leaders said Wednesday that the global casino operator’s future will hew closely to the vision of company founder
who died earlier this month.
The company will continue to invest in its Singapore and Macau casinos, which generate most of the company’s revenue, and consider expansion opportunities in the U.S. in New York and Texas, company officials said on a call with Wall Street analysts Wednesday.
“The DNA of the company that Sheldon founded will be ever present,” said Sands Chief Executive
who was named Mr. Adelson’s successor this week.
Sands reported a 67% decline in revenue for the quarter that ended Dec. 31, the first such report since Mr. Adelson’s death. The casino magnate died Jan. 11 from complications of treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma at the age of 87. The company began when Mr. Adelson and partners bought the old Sands Hotel casino on the Las Vegas Strip in 1989.
The Covid-19 pandemic has roiled the casino industry with temporary shutdowns, reduced travel and limited occupancies under social-distancing. Hopes for a recovery this year depend on how many tourists and business travelers will return as vaccines are distributed.
On Wednesday, company leaders didn’t provide much detail about a possible sale of its Las Vegas assets, which now include the Venetian and Palazzo casinos and the Sands Expo and Convention Center. But they insisted their outlook for the Las Vegas market is positive. The company confirmed it was considering a sale in October.
Las Vegas is struggling right now, but once the pandemic has subsided, the city as a destination has “plenty of gas in the tank,” Mr. Goldstein said.
Mr. Adelson pushed Sands to develop convention space alongside casinos to attract business travelers and meetings, a trend that made Las Vegas a convention-dependent town. The pandemic forced widespread cancellations of large events, and the convention industry has yet to rebound under social-distancing limitations.
But demand for conventions starting in 2022 through 2027 is strong, Mr. Goldstein said Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the company is looking at other expansion opportunities, including a long-held wish to open a casino in New York and a more recent push to open the Texas market to commercial casinos. Mr. Goldstein said he visited Texas last week. “You can’t deny the power of Texas, the size and scale,” he said.
In the gambling hub of Macau, Sands’ biggest source of revenue, government-issued casino licenses expire in June 2022, and operators are awaiting more information from the Macau government on a renewal process. Mr. Goldstein dismissed the idea in the industry that casino operators should sell stakes to Chinese companies to pitch for new licenses. He said the focus for the Macau government will be on how much the company has invested in its properties, including developing non-gambling aspects of their resorts.
Gambling revenue was down 79% in Macau last year, according to government data. While casinos are open, Covid-19 travel restrictions in China have limited the flow of visitors into Macau.
For 2020, Sands reported an operating loss of $1.69 billion compared with operating income of $3.7 billion in 2019. Net loss attributable to Sands was $1.69 billion for 2020, compared with net income of $2.7 billion the previous year.
The casino operator posted revenue of $1.15 billion for the December quarter, down from $3.51 billion a year ago. Analysts polled by FactSet expected $1.27 billion.
While Nevada allowed casinos to reopen in the summer following an unprecedented shutdown last March, the state’s most important industry has been reeling from restrictions to occupancy levels and lower spending and gambling from international tourists due to curbed travel.
On Tuesday, the company’s board named Mr. Goldstein as successor to Sands’ top job and tapped
Mr. Adelson’s son-in-law, to be operating chief and president.
The Adelson family owns a majority stake in the company with nearly 57%.
For the quarter, Sands swung to a loss of $299 million, or 39 cents a share, from a profit of $629 million, or 82 cents a share, a year ago. On an adjusted basis, the company posted a loss of 37 cents a share. Analysts on average forecast a 32 cents-a-share loss.
—Kimberly Chin contributed to this article.
Write to Kimberly Chin at firstname.lastname@example.org
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