Sands China says it has already edged back into profitability since the start of October, with the return of customers in the lucrative premium mass segment signalling genuine signs of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The update on Sands China’s performance came during the company’s 3Q20 earnings call on Thursday morning (Asia time), with Chief Operating Officer Grant Chum revealing average non-rolling drop of around US$20 million per day this month, “which is about 30% of last year’s level.”
“At this level of non-rolling drop we are able to achieve, and we are achieving, a slight positive EBITDA month-to-date based on our current construction and the business mix,” Chum explained after the company reported a US$562 million loss for the third quarter.
“October was the first time since January that we’ve been seeing significant volumes of patronage. Premium mass has been the strongest segment by far and that is really across all the different tiers of premium mass.
“The patrons returning first to Macau are the high quality, high frequency customers. I think that reflects the pent up demand these guests have and these are the ones who are used to staying overnight in Macau, having multiple night stays and enjoying the destination. These are the first customers to come back, so our performance in October has really been principally based on the premium mass recovery.”
Chum also noted that Sands China’s non-rolling drop levels had steadied to that US$20 million daily mark after surging during Golden Week and then experiencing a lull during the second week of October.
“We saw a very notable rebound in the third week and in fact we are still averaging around US$20 million drop per day in the third week, so we are well onto that trajectory and we hope that we can maintain that,” he said.
Sands pointed to the recent opening of its new all-suite tower at Four Seasons Hotel Macao as having aided the return of premium mass players, which the company says are “looking for those premium experiences and in this time an increased amount of personal space.”
However, the company has yet to see any significant improvement in the base mass segment due to both “real and perceived impediments” in terms of obtaining visas to enter Macau.