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Sands CEO says infrastructure development to benefit Macau

Las Vegas Sands Chairman and CEO Rob Goldstein said the company "firmly believes" the Macau market will recover and will benefit in the future from infrastructure developments throughout the Greater Bay Area.

Writing in the group's 2020 annual report, Goldstein said the opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge was a "major milestone" that will help Macao grow tourism and MICE business in the years ahead.

"It is an engineering feat of unprecedented scale that creates a direct connection between the Hong Kong International Airport, one of the largest and most important transportation hubs in all of Asia, and Macao," he said.

The ambitious Greater Bay Area project aims to link 11 cities across southern China, including Hong Kong and Macau. Through massive levels of investment, the Mainland government is building faster roads and rail links to ease the movement of goods and people, all of which stand to benefit Macau, which gets the majority of its visitation from Guangdong province.

Goldstein said the company will continue to follow its late founder Sheldon Adelson's vision in investing in its Macau properties. So far it has spent $15 billion on building its four Macau IRs and will continue with targeted investments.

The group in February opened the first stage of its revamped The Londoner property, with further amenities scheduled to rollout during the rest of the year.

Goldstein offered no details on potential future plans and gave no hint as to exactly how the company may deploy its $6.2 billion cash pile from the sale of its Las Vegas properties.

He did however repeat that the company sees growth for the future coming from the higher margin mass market segment. At present, Macau's recovery is being lead by the premium mass customer as China has not yet permitted the resumption of group visas that would allow the return of large-scale visitation.

Sands has the largest hotel room inventory in Macau at over 12,000, which will make it the key beneficiary once the mass market returns.

"We believe the mass market segment will continue to be a long-term growth segment as a result of the introduction of more high-quality gaming facilities and non-gaming amenities into the market."

Asia Gaming Brief is a news and intelligence service providing up to date market information for worldwide executives on relevant gaming issues in Asia.

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