Macau casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd says it has subscribed to HKD100-million (US$12.9 million) worth of special social bonds issued by Bank of China (Macau Branch) Ltd.
The casino firm said in a Thursday announcement that the proceeds from its subscription to the instruments – described as “Covid-19 impact alleviation social bonds” – would be used to provide “special loans and reduce the financing costs of Macau small and medium-sized enterprises [SMEs] that provide healthcare and medical supplies or manufacture medical devices, etc”.
Galaxy Entertainment said this was “to support the recovery of the local production and supply of epidemic-prevention and -control products”.
The statement said the instrument was the first certified social bond issued by a Chinese financial institution.
Galaxy Entertainment’s vice-chairman, Francis Lui Yiu Tung (pictured right), was quoted in the announcement as saying the subscription would “help offer prompt and efficient assistance to local SMEs and alleviate their operating and financing pressures amid this critical period.”
Lei Wai Nong (pictured centre), Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance, also attended a Thursday ceremony marking the bond subscription announcement.
Other Galaxy Entertainment initiatives during the coronavirus alert have included waiving the fixed-rental fee for all the group’s tenants during February, said the firm. That is understood to be a reference to shops and food and drink outlets at the company’s casino resorts.
Its flagship Cotai property is Galaxy Macau on Cotai. It also runs Broadway Macau next door, which hosts Broadway Food Street, a mix of outdoor food stalls and small local restaurants. The group’s main property on Macau peninsula is the StarWorld Hotel.
Investment analysts have noted that there is currently little clarity in terms of when the consumer side of the Macau gaming market – a key component of the local economy – will return to normality, with travel restrictions out of mainland China, the biggest single market for the city’s gamblers, still in place.
Galaxy Entertainment has, in common with other Macau casino operators, been making donations – amid the ongoing Covid-19 alert – of money, help and equipment to the Macau community and to Hubei province in mainland China, identified as the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.
All six Macau operators face the likelihood of a new public tender for Macau gaming rights, coinciding with the expiry in 2022 of their current gaming licences.
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Inward direct investment – from outside investors – into Macau’s gaming sector in 2019