There is likely to be “slippage” in the timetable for building the expansion to the Resorts World Sentosa casino resort (pictured) in Singapore amid the Covid-19 crisis, and tourism might recover only towards the end of 2021 or into 2022, according to comments from the management of the venue’s promoter, Genting Singapore Ltd.
The news came in a filing issued the same day the firm announced the casino at the resort would reopen to select customers from Wednesday (July 1) after being closed since April 7 as a pandemic countermeasure. The comments about the expansion outlook had actually been made a month earlier in late May, at the firm’s annual meeting.
When the expansion had been outlined in April 2019, Genting Singapore said it would be “delivered in phases with new experiences opening every year from 2020 to a projected completion around 2025.”
The firm is saying in its latest remarks that some redesign will be needed to the plans, in the light of Covid-19 before work begins.
The company stated: “With the latest understanding of the social distancing and enhanced safety measures, revisions to the development design will be required before finalisation and the development will be staggered and completed over a period of five to six years from the commencement of construction works.”
Genting Singapore attributed the latest outlook on the expansion pledge to comments to shareholders by Tan Hee Teck, the group’s president and chief operating officer, who also sits on the board.
It added: “With the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, the company expects construction schedule slippage due to global supply chain disruptions and labour shortage,” regarding the SGD4.5-billion (US$3.2-billion) expansion, said the firm in the Sunday filing about commentary given at its annual general meeting.
The enlargement project was revealed in April last year. It had emerged that the Singapore government would permit the casino duopoly between Resorts World Sentosa and Marina Bay Sands, run by a unit of United States-based Las Vegas Sands Corp, to be extended until 2030, and that the two businesses would invest an aggregate of SGD9 billion in new facilities.
The company added in its annual meeting commentary to investors: “Until an effective vaccine is found, travel is likely to be muted. As such, the company envisages that travel and tourism spending could potentially return to pre-Covid-19 crisis levels only towards later part of 2021 or beginning of 2022.”
Genting Singapore said, citing a forecast from the United Nations’ World Tourism Organization (UNTWO), that in 2020 international travel could “fall by as much as 80 percent,” which the casino operator said was “many times worse” than the world experienced “during the September 11 (9-11) crisis, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), and even the global financial crisis in 2009”.
In February, Genting Singapore reported full-year profit down 8.8 percent, on total revenue that declined 2.3 percent year-on-year. Such profit was SGD688.6 million compared with SGD755.4 million in the prior year. In May, the group warned of a slow recovery in its business as its first-quarter revenue fell by 36.5 percent from the prior-year period.
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"Our expansion from 2021 and beyond will create tremendous opportunities to team members”
Francis Lui Yiu Tung
Vice chairman of Macau-based casino operator Galaxy Entertainment