Macau

After expressing discontent in the steps of Sands China and Galaxy Entertainment properties, activist group Forefront of Macau Gaming moved its campaign on to Sociedade de Jogos de Macau, the largest local operator by market share.

SJM posted a 4.7 percent increase in revenue of HK$44.4b and a marginal profit increase of 1.9 percent at HK$3.9b for the first half 2014 in a filing to the Hong stock exchange.

UBS analysts described SJM's disclosure "a decent result in a season of misses."

MGM China CEO Grant Bowie announced a $200 million expenditure plan to revamp the peninsula property up to 2016. Renovations include new VIP and mass gaming areas, increased retail options, and are expected to be completed just ahead of the opening of the Cotai property, currently under construction at "full steam." 

The executive told media of the introduction of the "skylofts" in the middle tower MGM Cotai, a concept the company pioneered in the U.S.

An investor in one of Macau's largest junket operators plans to spend $3 billion in casino resort complex in the western Pacific island of Saipan, Reuters reported.

Imperial Pacific International Holdings Limited, which invests in the Hengsheng Group junket, said on Wednesday it was looking for a property in Saipan to build the integrated resort after being granted a 25-year casino licence by the government of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

MGM Resorts International chairman and CEO, Jim Murren, said in a conference call yesterday that the opening of its new Cotai resort was likely to be delayed as the company was having problems obtaining building permits. “We know we’re opening in 2016,” Mr Murren said. “But rather than pin down a number or a date, we just have to be a little more general at this point in time.”

Macau stocks took another battering yesterday, down between 3-8 percent on concerns over slowing mass market growth. Mass table revenue grew 17 percent YoY in July, below estimates of 21-25 percent. The slowdown was not uniform, with the premium mass segment performing well (+36 percent at Wynn; +40 percent at MGM) while growth in non-premium slowed considerably (+12 percent at Venetian; +16 percent at Galaxy Macau).

In response to a decision by Forefront of Macau Gaming (FMG) to hold another demonstration outside its Sands Macao property, the company has issued a statement reiterating the fact that it has a master plan in place to improve its team structure and benefits scheme.

Melco Crown Entertainment (MCE) suffered a fall in its share price yesterday on tougher VIP conditions in Macau and also on news that employees at its Taipei branch have been indicted for alleged violations to local banking and foreign exchange laws.

MGM Resorts International reported solid growth for the quarter ended June 30, 2014, beating analyst expectations. Net revenue was up 4 percent from the year ago quarter to $2.6 billion, while EBITDA rose 12 percent, with adjusted property EBITDA at $643 million, an 8 percent increase.

In the earnings filing to the HK stock exchange MGM China pushed the opening of the Cotai property to some time in Y16 from the previous estimate of "early 2016," a move analysts attribute to Macau's notable labor shortages and the pacing of the IR openings in the pipeline. 

Galaxy Entertainment Group (GEG) has responded to the latest protest by labor group Forefront of Macau Gaming by issuing a statement about its reward programs and encouraging employees to go through official internal channels to make their feelings known. VP of public relations, Buddy Lam, reiterated that GEG has conducted market salary alignment every July since its operation.

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