Construction of Grand Lisboa Palace (pictured), the first Cotai resort for Macau casino operator SJM Holdings Ltd, will be completed this year as the firm had flagged, but the timing of the opening of the property depends on it receiving necessary local government approvals.
So said Daisy Ho Chiu Fung, chairman and executive director of SJM Holdings, on the sidelines of the company’s annual general meeting in Hong Kong on Tuesday.
She added that “currently” more than 90 percent of the building work had been completed.
In late May brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd said in a note it “would not be surprised” if Grand Lisboa Palace only opened in time for “summer 2020”.
Ms Ho – a daughter of the firm’s founder Stanley Ho Hung Sun – added in response to media questions on Tuesday that the United States-China trade war had had an impact on SJM Holdings’ VIP gambling business in Macau. But she noted it had also affected the firm’s five competing licence-holders in that market.
She further observed that her firm had nonetheless seen “high single-digit” percentage growth in mass gambling in April and May; understood to be a reference to gross gaming revenue expansion judged year-on-year. SJM Holdings was looking to strengthen its performance in that segment, and expected its gaming income to stabilise in the second half of this year, she added.
Ms Ho was also asked about the gaming brand’s interest in a Japan casino licence.
Arnaldo Ho Yau Heng – director and assistant chief operating officer of Sociedade de Jogos de Macau SA, the Macau-registered operating unit of Hong Kong-listed SJM Holdings – recently gave a presentation in Tokyo on the brand’s potential value in expanding inbound tourism to Japan.
Mr Arnaldo Ho is a half-sibling of Ms Daisy Ho.
She said in her Tuesday comments that the group had sent a team to Japan to study opportunities there, but that no firm details – such as the possible host city for an SJM-led resort – could be disclosed at the moment.
At Tuesday’s annual general meeting, Henry Cheng Kar Shun – whose late father Cheng Yu Tung was a long-time business associate of Mr Stanley Ho – ceased to be a non-executive director of the company. He had been a non-executive director since 2013. The Cheng family made their money from jewellery retailing but also founded Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Ltd, a private firm that has invested in casino schemes in Macau, Australia and Vietnam.
At Tuesday’s SJM Holdings annual general meeting, Patrick Tsang On Yip, chief executive and director of Chow Tai Fook Enterprises, joined the SJM Holdings board as a non-executive director.
He is also an in-law of Mr Henry Cheng, being married to the latter’s niece Selena Sun.
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"The most worrying [thing] is whether [mainland] China will again tighten the issuance of travel visas [for visits to Macau]"
Luiz Lam Kai Kuong
Macau junket investor