Marina Bay Sands poised for strong growth this year with relaxation of travel curbs

MBS' Ebitda run rate is expected to hit $1.38 billion this year. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Marina Bay Sands (MBS) is expected to see its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) run rate hitting about US$1 billion (S$1.38 billion) this year, bolstered by strong travel demand and relaxation of border measures, parent company Las Vegas Sands (LVS) said on Wednesday (April 27).

This is despite the integrated resort seeing a dip in its net revenues for the first quarter of 2022 at US$399 million, compared with US$426 million in the first quarter of last year.

The Ebitda run rate refers to the financial performance of a company based on current financial information to predict future performance.

Despite the dip, chairman and chief executive of LVS, Mr Robert Goldstein, said he expects business performance to improve, especially with the launch of the Vaccinated Travel Framework on April 1.

The framework allows all travellers vaccinated against Covid-19 to enter Singapore quarantine-free on any flight from April 1. Quotas on the number of daily arrivals were also lifted.

Speaking at the group's earnings announcement on Wednesday, he said: "We had $58 million of Ebitda in March and that trajectory is continuing, the momentum is going upwards in April. Singapore is back... the question is how fast does it get there. The demand is there, it will continue."

While Macau, where LVS has five properties such as integrated resort The Venetian Macao, is still largely closed off to travel, MBS is facing a unique and opportune window, said Mr Goldstein, adding that it has seen demand from all segments, such as from leisure travel as well as for its casino.

"It feels like we're in the middle of a very positive beginning. And hopefully, without a Covid-19 interruption or a change in policy, I believe MBS is going to (have a) very productive 2022."

Non-residents are not allowed to enter Macau, except for residents of mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan who have not visited countries or regions outside China in the weeks prior to their entry. They are subject to testing requirements before entering the region.

Mr Goldstein also gave some updates on the renovation and expansion plans for MBS. The ongoing US$1 billion renovation project will see an upgrade of all the rooms and suites in towers one and two of MBS.

Renovation is expected to be completed around the end of next year, and the group is still working through issues in its US$3.3 billion expansion plans, which were announced in 2019.

"We are not ready to talk about that today because we are still working through issues there, but it is the same issues (on) supply, labour, cost," said Mr Goldstein.

Construction projects around the world are seeing delays, with the Covid-19 pandemic putting a strain on manpower and supply chains.

The group had previously announced that its expansion of MBS is on track to complete in 2026, a year after its 2025 timeline. The plans include adding a fourth tower consisting of a 1,000-room luxury hotel and a 15,000-seat entertainment arena to the MBS development.

Resorts World Sentosa will add two new zones to Universal Studios Singapore - Minion Park and Super Nintendo World - as well as a new oceanarium. PHOTOS: RESORTS WORLD SENTOSA

Separately, Genting Singapore, which runs Singapore's second integrated resort Resorts World Sentosa, said its expansion plans will start in the second quarter of this year.

This first phase involves expanding Universal Studios Singapore and the SEA Aquarium, and refurbishing three hotels and the Resorts World Convention Centre in anticipation of a recovery in the tourism and hospitality sectors.

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