Monday January 5,2014 : MACAU DECLINE TOUGH FOR CASINO OWNERS
Major losses in share value hit billionaire pockets.
2014 was a bad year for Macau casino stocks thanks to the Chinese government crackdown on corruption, which scared away many high rollers and triggered declining revenues in the final seven months of the year.
That resulted in falling casino company share prices, with the six main stocks plummeting 40 percent in market capitalisation to $HK859 billion from $HK1433 billion…a US$100 billion in market share wiped out in Macau's first annual decline since the market was liberalised.
High profile billionaires like James Packer, Sheldon Adelson and Stanley Ho, whilst hardly impoverished by the misfortune, will have felt the pain from the drop in their personal holdings.
Packer's company Melco Crown alone lost HK$61 billion in market cap during 2014, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. The company, owned jointly by Packer and Lawrence Ho, suffered a 35 percent drop in the value of its shares. Compared with 2013 results that is painful to say the least – back then share prices doubled on revenues that climbed 19 percent.
Stanley Ho's SJM Holdings share price took a 52 percent hit, causing a market cap drop of HK$73 billion.
The largest market capitalisation loss – HK$208 billion – was sustained by anti-online gambling crusader Sheldon Adelson, who saw the share price of his Sands China company in Macau plunge 40 percent in 2014.
Gambling revenues in Macau fell 2.6 percent last year to 351.5 billion patacas (US$54.4 billion), the first annual decline since gambling was liberalised in 2002.
December revenues slid an alarming 30.4 percent to 23.3 billion patacas, continuing a decline that lasted for the past seven months.
Independent analysts, once so bullish on Macau, are now uncertain regarding the immediate future, with diverse predictions that range from a 9 percent fall to a 10 percent rise in revenues. The consensus appears to be that January will be the eighth bleak month, eclipsing even the 2008-2009 consecutive monthly drops caused by the global financial meltdown.