Macau operator SJM Holdings sees $994M losses in FY22 amid Covid closures and lockdowns

Macau casino operator SJM Holdings has reported an HK 7.80 billion ($993.7 million) loss for FY22 as gambling in the hub was negatively affected by border closures and lockdowns. The loss was attributed to a sharp 37.7% decrease in gaming revenues, amid Covid-related measures and a substantial impairment charge on property costs.

The company’s latest report shows revenues dropped to HK 6.46 billion ($823 million), including a sharp 64.2% drop in VIP gross gaming revenue to HK 486 million ($61.9 million). Moreover, SJM announced a 34.5% drop in mass market gaming revenue to HK 5.55 billion ($707 million), resulting in a widened Adjusted EBITDA loss of HK 3.10 billion ($394.9 million).

Despite these drops in revenue, SJM Holdings officials showed confidence in the future and focused on the receipt of a new concession to continue operating in the gambling hub, which was awarded late last year and went into effect on January 1. “2022 is also a milestone year, as we successfully tendered for a 10-year concession,” said in a statement SJM Holdings Chairperson Daisy Ho.

With unwavering confidence in the future of Macau, we have committed to a MOP 14.0 billion ($1.73 billion) investment blueprint, out of which MOP 12.0 billion ($1.48 billion) has been earmarked for expanding international tourism and non-gaming tourism elements,” noted Ho, in a move in line with China’s push for Macau to expand its economy beyond gambling.

SJM will be combining our strategic tourism assets and network advantages to deliver an authentic and immersive Macau experience, to promote an ecosystem that supports all-rounded diversification across broad sectors of the economy, and to solidify Macau’s status as a world center of tourism and leisure,” she concluded.

The company also broke down revenues at each individual property it manages in the hub, including the recently opened Grand Lisboa Palace in Cotai, which enjoyed a 73% year-on-year increase in revenues to HK 346 million ($44 million), although it should be noted 2022 was the first full year of operations at the property. 

In comparison, the Grand Lisboa resort posted a 50.4% drop in GGR to HK 1.07 billion ($136.3 million), and a similar picture occurred with so-called “satellite casinos,” which fell by 41.9% to HK 3.79 billion ($482.8 million).

None of these negative results was a surprise taking into account extensive lockdown periods enforced during 2022, China’s crackdown on VIP gambling, and updated gaming regulations. As a consequence, SJM failed to expand its Macau market share, which currently stands at 15.8%. However, 2023 could prove to be a year of rebound for SJM, as the region has seen visitation rise dramatically in January and February – the best months for the hub in years.