MBS' Q4 earnings take a hit on stronger US dollar

MBS' Q4 earnings take a hit on stronger US dollar

A stronger greenback coupled with Lady Luck siding with VIP gamblers combined to send earnings tumbling at Marina Bay Sands in the fourth quarter.

Net profit came in at US$338.2 million (S$482 million), down about 35 per cent from US$518.5 million recorded a year earlier.

If foreign currency fluctuations and a $90.1 million property tax refund received in the prior year are excluded, the resort's Ebitda - a measure of profit before tax, interest and other items - rose 11.8 per cent.

"After adjustments for bad luck and currency fluctuations, MBS' profit in Singapore currency terms grew, which is pretty good, given the corruption crackdown in China and the slowdown in the region," Mr Grant Govertsen, managing partner of Union Gaming Research Macau, told The Straits Times.

"We think there won't be the same cause of joy for Genting Singapore (when it reports its fourth-quarter 2015 results), because it is still hamstrung by bad debt. Look for more writedowns that could diminish Genting's earnings.

"MBS became cautious about bad debt more quickly than Genting Singapore, and began restricting credit extensions earlier." he added.

Turnover slipped 16.1 per cent to US$703.9 million for the three months to Dec 31.

Casino revenues fell 21 per cent to US$532.9 million in the quarter due to the Singdollar's weakness and drop in win percentage in the VIP segment. The win percentage, or hold rate - the portion the casino retains on a $1 bet - was 2.39 per cent for the quarter, which means that for every $1 wagered by VIP gamblers, MBS made 2.39 cents. That compared with 3.58 per cent achieved in the same quarter a year earlier.

"We have around 60 per cent Ebitda share in a duopoly market, more than the other guy," casino boss Sheldon Adelson told analysts in a conference call.

"Well over 80 per cent of operating profit in both our Macau and Singapore operations comes from mass gaming and non-gaming segments, with less than 20 per cent of profit coming from VIP gaming."

The slowdown in regional growth and tourism affected hotel room occupancy and revenues. Hotel room revenue fell 4.1 per cent to US$88.3 million, while mall turnover slipped 8.8 per cent to US$41.7 million.

The revenue per available room (RevPAR) and average daily rate (ADR) were undermined by the stronger dollar. ADR fell to US$392 from US$422 a year earlier, while hotel occupancy dropped to 96.6 per cent from 98.3 per cent, resulting in RevPAR falling to US$379 from US$415 a year ago.

But other divisions remained resilient. Convention, retail and other revenues rose 11.9 per cent to US$29.1 million, while food and beverage sales rose 9.1 per cent to US$55.3 million.

Meanwhile, parent firm Las Vegas Sands reported a net profit of US$465.8 million, down 35.4 per cent from US$721.3 million a year earlier. Revenue fell 16.2 per cent to US$2.86 billion.


This article was first published on Jan 29, 2016.
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