Melco Resorts and Entertainment’s decision to file for an initial public offering for its Studio City joint venture took analysts by surprise, with many speculating the proposed listing is being used to fish for a valuation for the resort. Melco owns the Hollywood-themed IR through a partnership with New Cotai Holdings. Analysts have long expected Melco to buy out its partner’s 40 percent stake to gain full ownership, giving it access to the full revenue stream and the potential for operational synergies. However, in August, it filed for an IPO in the U.S.
In just three years, the first of the licenses awarded to Macau’s concessionaires expire and, despite the billions of dollars invested by the operators in the market, there is still no clarity over the renewal process. There is no mechanism under the current law for automatic renewal which, as the deadline approaches, is leading to increasing concern in the market as to the tack the government may take. Views on the ground are mixed.
While the Macau market still has plenty more to give, operators are starting to look elsewhere for future growth potential
With the opening of Galaxy Entertainment’s Phase II development seemingly doing little to generate additional traffic in Macau, the focus has now shifted to the launch of Melco Crown Entertainment’s $3.2 billion Studio City property later this year.Most analysts see the cinematic-themed property as the true game changer when it comes to boosting non-gaming facilities in Macau and therefore a better indicator as to whether the territory can diversify and attract a wider tourist base.
China has no intention of killing the goose that lays the golden egg and the fallout from its anti-corruption campaign, which has sent GGR down for the past 11 months, is collateral damage rather than a deliberate attempt to harm business in Macau. This was the message from panelists at the G2E Asia show this week, although most agree prospects for a short-term rebound are slim.
Macau gaming stocks are feeling the heat from the trade war between the U.S. and China, falling to their lowest levels in a year, with some analysts cutting their growth forecasts on concern for a slowdown in China’s economy.