Las Vegas Sands says it remains unsure whether it can meet its current 2025 deadline for completion of the SG$4.5 billion (US$3.3 billion) expansion of Singapore integrated resort Marina Bay Sands.
Speaking to analysts during Thursday’s earnings call following publication of the company’s 2Q21 financial results, LVS President and COO Patrick Dumont said it was facing lengthy delays as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which had prevented the progress of certain works on the MBS site through most of 2021.
The substantial project will see the development of a fourth hotel tower with a “rooftop attraction” including a sky pool and signature restaurant, MICE facilities comprising meeting rooms, function rooms and exhibition halls plus a state-of-the-art live entertainment arena with a seating capacity of at least 15,000 people.
While Dumont refrained from confirming any change to the current opening schedule just yet, he noted there is “a fair amount of uncertainty around the timing and availability of when we can actually get things done.
“A lot of the early parts of this project require us to work with certain government agencies – to seek their approval and work with them collaboratively – to ensure that we fulfil our obligations and their desires as part of this project,” he said.
“It’s a very tight site. It’s eight acres, there is a lot of programming, a lot of density and a lot of things that have to be worked through, and a lot of things that have to be integrated into the current environment, to make it right.
“We’re starting to work through some of those things but as a practical matter, the nature of a construction project of this complexity and size will always be challenging in a normal environment, so I think we’re just trying to be cautious and make sure we understand all the different parameters around labor and timelines before we say what schedule is achievable.
“I think a lot of it depends on COVID recovery over the next few months.”
MBS first announced its expansion plans in April 2019 after reaching an agreement with the government that included making a one-off SG$1.5 billion (US$1.1 billion) payment.
In return, MBS will be granted a provision to install an additional 1,000 gaming machines, taking its total to 3,500, and convert the entire 55th floor of Hotel Tower 1 into more casino floor space with a provision to purchase another 2,000 square meters of casino gaming area if required.
The deadline for completion of the development was set for April 2027 although LVS had previously stated it expected to open by 2025. That timeline now looks ambitious given the effect of COVID-19, with fellow integrated resort operator Genting Singapore having already flagged delays to its own expansion project at Resorts World Sentosa.