CBRE Securities LLC expects “few, if any” of what it terms “outside bidders” for Macau gaming concessions via the public tender process that started on July 29 and runs until September 14.
This was due to “the complexity of operating in Macau, the relatively short concession length (10 years), and the potential size of investment for a new entrant,” wrote analyst John DeCree in a Monday note.
The same day, Macau government data showed that the city’s July casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) was at a monthly low not seen since 2003, prior to the city’s post-liberalisation boom. The July GGR result came amid tougher travel and movement rules during a Covid-19 community outbreak.
A number of investment analysts do not expect China’s ‘zero-Covid’ policy to dim the prospects of the Macau market in the longer term, due to the city’s proximity to, and links with, the mainland China market.
Carlo Santarelli, of Deutsche Bank Securities Inc, said in a Monday note that while having no high hopes for 2022 – it revised down its forecast for 2022 GGR by 11.3 percent, to US$8.67 billion – the institution expected Macau GGR to improve by about 182 percent year-on-year in 2023, to US$24.47 billion.
January 2023 was flagged by Macau government officials last week as the anticipated start of the first year of new concessions.
CBRE’s Mr DeCree said in his note: “Encouragingly, the government has begun moving rather quickly since the new gaming law was enacted, and we have some confidence the retender could be concluded before year-end.” Macau’s gaming law amendment, passed in June, had been declared by the government as a key step on the road to creating a new concession regime.
While the “fundamental outlook still remains bleak” in terms of Macau market recovery, CBRE maintained its “belief that all six incumbents,” i.e., the six casino operators currently in the market, “will be successful in retendering”.
A note last week from JP Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) Ltd suggested some key financial conditions of the new concession contracts – including “size of investment commitment, concession premium” – might only be known once the Macau authorities had drawn up a list of “provisional” winning bidders.
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