Sands China Ltd., the Macau arm of Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS), said it provided $41 million in rental assistance last year to tenants at its mall shops in the special administrative region (SAR). The total was needed because of the pandemic, but marked an improvement in revenue rom 2020.
In a regulatory filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, Sands China said it delivered $41 million in rent concessions last year, which represents a decline of 80.9% from $215 million in 2020. The gaming operator acknowledges the lease relief is provided as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Last year, Sands China generated $473 million in rental revenue in Macau, up from $269 million in 2020, according to the regulatory filing. The bulk of that improvement stems from lower lease concessions.
(There was also) an increase in turnover rents of US$61 million driven by increased sales, primarily in the luxury segment,” said the operator.
Sands China has almost 2.07 million square feet of dining and retail space spread across its five Macau integrated resorts. Nearly half of that figure — 945,000 square feet to be precise — is found at Venetian Macau. The SAR is the largest operating market for Sands.
Sands China Delivering More Rent Assistance This Year
Though an exact dollar amount wasn’t mentioned, Sands China continues helping some Macau tenants with rental relief this year.
Future Bright Holdings Ltd., a restaurant operator, said it was able to amend a three-year lease with Sands China pertaining to a Japanese eatery at the Londoner Macau. The gaming company scrapped a monthly base fee the tenant was previously liable for. The tenant agreed to a six-month extension and a 15 percent monthly turnover fee.
The concessions come as the world’s largest casino center continues struggling with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. China’s zero-tolerance policy regarding COVID-19 is a stumbling block for Macau operators, including Sands. That’s because it leads to restricted travel when outbreaks occur, keeping gamblers away from the SAR.
A recent surge of COVID-19 cases in mainland China and Hong Kong — two of the major travel arteries to Macau — is extending what’s now a lengthy road to recovery for the world’s largest casino center, pressuring long-slumping share prices in the process.
Real Estate Advantage
Being one of the largest landlords in Macau, particularly for luxury retailers, helps Sands China diversify its revenue stream. The shops serve as a non-gaming amenity to bring visitors to the operator’s integrated resorts.
It’s likely Sands China’s US-based parent will deploy some of the cash from the recently completed sale of its Las Vegas assets toward enhancing its Macau properties. It may also build out more non-gaming fare in an effort to appease local policymakers.
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