Monday . October 14 . 2019
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Reporting live from PATA Travel Mart, Macau

Sands China targets US$1 billion profit

By Raini Hamdi and Gracia Chiang

SANDS China is on track to make a US$1 billion profit this year, according to president and COO Edward Tracy.

The company invested US$2.8 billion in The Venetian, US$1.4 billion in The Plaza (including the Four Seasons), US$500 million in Sands Macao and is investing US$4.1 billion on Parcels 5 and 6, which will add some 6,000 rooms in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Tracy's optimism in achieving US$1 billion comes on the back of Sands' first-half interim results ended June 30, which saw an EBITDA of US$554.6 million, a 64.2 per cent increase over the same period last year.

Despite new competition such as City of Dreams and Galaxy Macau, Tracy said Macau could sustain all projects that had been planned and scheduled.

"With a world-class facility sitting next to the biggest market in the world, there is nothing that makes us believe growth cannot be sustained, unless there is a global economic slowdown."

Tracy said the entry of new players would further help change perception of Macau as a gaming destination and increase its pie of MICE and leisure travel. Eighty per cent of the revenue at The Venetian is still from gaming and Sands is trying to shift the mix by trumpeting non-gaming amenities to mainland Chinese.

The Venetian's fastest-growing MICE and leisure market is India, according to Wolfram Diener, its vice president of conventions and exhibitions, even though there are no direct flights between India and Macau.

More direct air access between neighbouring Hong Kong and India is the catalyst, said New Delhi-based Astral Travels' Sangeeta Berera. "Hong Kong and Macau are rocking. Demand has really picked up and everyone wants to go to Hong Kong and Macau." She said Indian travel to popular tourist hotspot Thailand had "reached saturation point" as most had "already been there".

January to July figures showed arrivals from India to Macau having the largest jump among countries in Asia over the same period last year. India's increase was 73.8 per cent, far exceeding the 18.7 per cent growth for overall visitor arrivals.

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