MBS' Q4 earnings climb to $192m despite pandemic

Marina Bay Sands' earnings for the fourth quarter ended Dec 31 fell 68 per cent from the same period a year earlier but were more than double the US$70 million (S$93.3 million) racked up in the previous three months. It is the most profitable casino
Marina Bay Sands' earnings for the fourth quarter ended Dec 31 fell 68 per cent from the same period a year earlier but were more than double the US$70 million (S$93.3 million) racked up in the previous three months. It is the most profitable casino of parent firm Las Vegas Sands amid the pandemic.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

Marina Bay Sands has emerged as the most profitable casino of parent company Las Vegas Sands amid the pandemic despite a striking decline in earnings.

MBS generated earnings of US$144 million (S$191.9 million) in the fourth quarter ended Dec 31, down 68 per cent from the same period a year earlier but more than double the US$70 million racked up in the previous three months.

Full-year profit plunged 76 per cent to US$383 million, down from the US$1.66 billion recorded in 2019. The figures refer to Ebitda or earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation.

The earnings plunge came as no surprise after a near three-month shutdown due to circuit breaker measures in the second quarter and air travel restrictions that continue to put a damper on tourist spending.

Net revenue for the fourth quarter came in at US$345 million, down from US$853 million a year earlier - most from its lucrative casino business. Hotel, food and beverage and convention turnover fell by over 50 per cent from the corresponding period a year earlier.

MBS posted full-year net revenue of US$1.26 billion, under half of that achieved in 2019.

By comparison, most of Las Vegas Sands' (LVS) properties in Macau, such as the Venetian Macao, posted full-year losses.

"The recovery process from the Covid-19 pandemic continues to progress in both Macau and Singapore," said newly appointed LVS chief executive Rob Goldstein, who replaced Mr Sheldon Adelson earlier this week following the company founder's death on Jan 11.

"We remain optimistic about the eventual recovery of travel and tourism spending across our markets. We are fortunate that our financial strength supports previously announced capital expenditure programmes in both Macau and Singapore, as well as our pursuit of growth opportunities in new markets."

LVS is undertaking a US$3.3 billion expansion of MBS, including adding a 15,000-seat performance arena, a fourth tower with about 1,000 hotel rooms, a sky roof with a swimming pool and a restaurant.

Mr Goldstein noted: "These are not small investments... so we have to be prepared for outside investments in our best markets, which are Macau and Singapore, for crazy growth."

LVS posted a net revenue of US$1.15 billion in the fourth quarter, down 67.3 per cent from the same quarter a year earlier. It incurred a net loss of US$1.69 billion last year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 29, 2021, with the headline 'MBS' Q4 earnings climb to $192m despite pandemic'. Subscribe