The board of Sands China has announced that it does not recommend payment of a final dividend for the year ended 31 December 2019 as it looks to shore up its balance sheet during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision aligns with a similar announcement made by parent company Las Vegas Sands (LVS) on Friday (Macau time), with Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson stating the money saved will allow both Sands China and LVS to continue with previously announced capital expenditure programs in Macau and Singapore respectively.
Suspension of a final dividend follows heavy restrictions placed upon the flow of visitors to and from Macau, specifically to mainland China, which has seen visitation slow to a crawl. Macau’s gross gaming revenue plummeted 79.7% year-on-year in March and is expected to fall by around 95% in April, according to analysts.
“The Board recognizes the current and potential material impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic on the global economy and the important role that the Company plays in helping Macau and our team members manage through the crisis,” Sands China said in a filing.
“The Company has a strong capital, funding and liquidity position and remains committed to executing its ongoing capital expenditure programs in Macau. The Board will continue to review the situation and monitor market conditions.”
LVS added that its priorities remain the safety and security of its team members and guests, and support for local communities in Macau, Singapore and Las Vegas.
“Despite these circumstances, our balance sheet strength will enable us to emerge from this pandemic with all our promising future growth opportunities fully intact,” said Adelson. “We remain extremely optimistic about an eventual recovery of travel and tourism spending across our markets, as well as our future growth prospects.”