CLAIMS TO FAME
- Built Galaxy into Macau’s de facto local gaming champion
- Continuing to build out largest single land plot in Cotai via Galaxy Macau
- Holds strategic stakes in Monte Carlo casino operator SBM and Wynn Resorts
Just as Francis Lui and the Galaxy Entertainment Group empire he oversees was best positioned of all Macau concessionaires to ride out the COVID-19 storm – a position earned by its strong cash position – so too have they been well placed to capitalize on recovery.
GEG ended 2022 by signing a new 10-year gaming concession with the Macau government and began 2023 by seeing the territory’s strict border controls finally eased back, opening the door for customers to return after three long years on the outer.
The border situation also allowed GEG to prepare its long-completed Galaxy Macau Phase 3 development for official launch, starting with the opening of the Galaxy International Convention Center (GICC) in the June 2023 quarter.
In August, the new Raffles at Galaxy Macau held its soft opening complete with new premium mass gaming space that analysts say is already playing its part in boosting the company’s market share.
This was followed in September by the launch of another new hotel, Andaz, at GICC with its 700-room inventory – on top of the 450 suites at Raffles – taking Galaxy Macau’s full room count to 5,000.
With development of Galaxy Macau Phase 4 also underway and due for completion in 2026, Galaxy Macau will eventually offer 6,600 rooms – making it comfortably the largest single integrated resort offering in the SAR.
For now, however, GEG is happy just to be profitable again, reporting Adjusted EBITDA for the first six months of 2023 of HK$4.38 billion (US$559 million). This, the company revealed in its 1H23 results announcement, came on the back of H1 gross gaming revenues of HK$13.7 billion (US$1.75 billion) – up 187% year-on-year. GGR in Q2 was also 26.0% higher than in Q1 at HK$7.65 billion (US$977 million) reflecting Macau’s ongoing recovery story.
GEG was also among the first of Macau’s concessionaires to resume payment of dividends, again highlighting the strength of the company’s balance sheet during a time when so many of its peers were forced to borrow heavily to survive.
Speaking with Inside Asian Gaming in an exclusive interview in May, Lui said it was key “to make sure we had a strong enough balance sheet to keep us alive until the good times rolled back in again. All this time we were trying to do more with less, making sure that we had cash reserves so we could get through the bad times without hurting ourselves.
“For the last three years, we were able to reduce our spending substantially. In fact, some of those savings we think can become permanent, because we found new ways to operate more effectively.”
Lui has, meanwhile, tempered his international ambitions: GEG quietly withdrew from Japan in 2021 and is no longer pursuing a planned joint venture project on the Philippines island of Boracay. It does still hold strategic interests in both Wynn Resorts and Monte Carlo SBM, but for now Lui’s focus appears very much to be centered on Macau – proof that he knows exactly where his bread is buttered.
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