CO-CHAIRPERSON AND MANAGING DIRECTOR
GROUP EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN AND MANAGING DIRECTOR
Shun Tak Holdings
POWER SCORE: 2,809
POSITION LAST YEAR: 3
CLAIMS TO FAME
- Arguably the most prominent of Dr Stanley Ho’s 17 children
- Has interests in two Macau concessionaires plus multiple other real estate and hospitality holdings
EYES have been firmly fixed on Pansy Ho Chiu King, daughter of Macau gaming magnate Dr Stanley Ho, ever since she effectively took majority control of Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau, S.A. (STDM) in early 2019 as part of an alliance with the Fok Foundation.
STDM is the controlling shareholder of Macau casino concessionaire SJM Resorts Ltd, previously known as Sociedade de Jogos de Macau, S.A, which has long operated under an uneasy alliance, comprising the likes of Angela Leong – Dr Ho’s fourth wife – and Ambrose So on one side, and Pansy and her sister Daisy, SJM’s Chairman, on the other.
The Pansy Ho-led alliance with the Foks sparked speculation that she was positioning herself to assume day-to-day control of the casino firm founded by her father, although no such moves have been made just yet.
Nevertheless, few people wield such widespread influence in Macau as the 59-year-old. While her interest in SJM remains passive for now, Ho remains both a major shareholder and active leader of another Macau concession holder, MGM China, where she last year assumed the role of Managing Director following the retirement of long-time CEO Grant Bowie. No doubt she had greater plans for MGM China when she took over day-to-day-operations than the COVID-19 pandemic has allowed, with the company barely crawling to profit in the first half of 2021 after recording EBITDA losses through much of 2020.
Exactly what Ho’s long-term plans are for Macau remain to be seen. Alongside her controlling interest in STDM, Ho also holds a 22.49% stake in MGM China but has been actively reducing the 4.8% shareholding in its US-based parent MGM Resorts that she acquired in 2016 – down to 1.96% as of early 2021 and more recently to just 0.86% following a series of transactions throughout the year which netted her in excess of US$120 million.
It is perhaps a sign of Ms Ho’s influence that she has been granted special exemptions to MGM China’s own covenants which restrict its shareholders from holding a meaningful stake in any rival concessionaires. Those exemptions allow for her to retain an interest in the family business at STDM but also in Shun Tak Holdings – the Hong Kong-listed property and transport firm of which she serves as Chairman, CEO and Director. Shun Tak is itself one of Macau’s biggest land-owners with interests in a number of Macau gaming operators including Artyzen Hospitality Group, which owns Grand Lapa.
With such a diverse array of assets spread across so many powerful organizations, expect Pansy Ho to be watching as keenly as anyone for how the next 12 months plays out as the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and looming re-tender of Macau gaming licenses shape the city’s future.
For the full list of 2021 Asian Gaming Power 50 winners, click here.