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SJM cautious but hopeful for 2015

SJM Holdings Chief Executive Ambrose So has warned investors not to expect any sharp rebound in Macau casino earnings this year.

Speaking from Beijing, where the National People's Congress and Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference are both meeting this week, the head of the territory’s largest gaming operator by market share tempered his remarks by saying he expects revenue to stop falling in the second half and that the market will end the year down around 14 percent from 2014, a more upbeat assessment than current analyst projections for 2015 ranging from minus-16 to minus-30 percent.

He added that the impacts from negative factors affecting the market have been fully manifested, mentioning the central government’s widespread crackdown on corruption and abuses of the transit visa system and a Macau government ban on smoking on the public areas of the city’s casinos.

He said also that SJM will not lay-off any employees and will not be offering unpaid leaves, a practice that other operators have instituted in response to the downturn, which through February has seen gaming revenue in the world’s largest casino market fall for an unprecedented nine consecutive months.

He was quoted by local Portuguese-language broadcaster TDM Macau as emphasizing that “First, we won't have layoffs. Second, if there are losses, it won't be that quick to be felt. It could be a way of cutting down expenses. Pressure on staff is minimal. In regards to strengthening non-gaming diversification, we still need to think about what to do with non-gaming staff.”


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