Fitch Ratings has downgraded MGM Resorts International’s and MGM China Holdings’ issuer default ratings as well as their unsecured debt due to “decreased financial flexibility following the recent sale-leaseback transactions as well as the severe disruption to global gaming caused by the coronavirus outbreak.”
Fitch also revised the firms’ rating outlook from stable to negative.
They explained that “the sale and leaseback of Bellagio and MGM Grand, the company’s last two flagship Las Vegas Strip assets, reduce MGM’s liquidity levers vis-à-vis ability to monetize assets and increase MGM’s rent obligations to unaffiliated parties, most notably Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust.”
Fitch also cited “the unknown depth and duration of the coronavirus disruption” and the increased cash burn that this would entail.
However, the ratings agency also noted that “MGM is well positioned from a liquidity standpoint to weather the near-term cash burn, which Fitch anticipates will be funded with cash on hand including the recent asset sale proceeds.”
With continued and future disruptions on land-based casino revenues, industry executives are asking whether online casino platforms, which have seen rapid growth rates, can play a role in assisting stalled revenue lines and help them move beyond these difficult times.
Hong Kong-listed R&F Properties is seeking new financing and a casino operator partner for the Midan City development in Incheon, attempting to recover from Caesars Entertainment’s abandonment of the partnership.
The world is bouncing back, or at least coming to grips with the fact that going forward not much will be the same as before. Commendably, this industry quickly understood the need to adapt to a new normal, and that the days of targeting the low hanging fruit of the VIP sector are gone.
Over the years, many of the answers have been remarkably prescient in their forecasts for the near-term direction of Asia’s gaming industry. However, we can safely say that no one came anywhere close to guessing what 2020 may have had in store.