American casino operator, Las Vegas Sands Corporation, has reportedly announced the suspension of its dividend program for 2019 so as to give it ‘maximum optionality’ in securing returns following the end of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
According to a Thursday report from the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper, the New York-listed firm used an official filing to detail that the decision had been taken in light of the ‘current and potential material impact’ of coronavirus on the world’s economy and the fact that the contagion had led to the temporary closure of its facilities in the United States and Singapore.
Sheldon Adelson (pictured) serves as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for the Las Vegas-headquartered operator and he reportedly used the update to declare that the move will allow his firm to maintain the ‘strong balance sheet’ necessary for long-term stockholder value. He also pronounced that the company was currently concentrating on protecting the security and safety of its staff and guests and would revisit the dividend shift ‘at the earliest reasonable opportunity.’
Boston-born Adelson helped to establish Las Vegas Sands Corporation some 21 years ago and is thought to be responsible in partnership with his family for about 57% of the firm’s entire shareholding. It was more recently revealed that the 86-year-old billionaire had pocketed approximately $24.7 million in total annual compensation, which had included the maximum allowable $12.5 million in performance-related bonuses.
Reportedly read a statement from Adelson…
“As the largest shareholder of this company, my interests are very directly aligned with the interest of all shareholders. As I look forward to the day, soon let us hope, when this terrible virus is no longer of concern, I see many strategic opportunities for our company precisely because of our financial strength. It is because of this optimism that we are suspending the dividend.”
The Las Vegas Journal-Review reported that Las Vegas Sands Corporation paid out a fourth-quarter dividend of $0.79 per share on January 29 and had earlier revealed plans that were to have seen it increase its recurring common stock disbursement for 2020 to $3.16 per share.
Adelson stated that a strong balance sheet will enable his company to continue to pursue expansion projects in both Macau and Singapore and emerge from the coronavirus pandemic ‘with all [of its] promising future growth opportunities fully intact.’
Adelson’s statement reportedly read…
“The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on our business has been unprecedented and I have never seen anything like it in my over 70 years in business. We remain extremely optimistic about an eventual recovery of travel and tourism spending across our markets as well as our future growth prospects.”
GGRAsia used its own report to explain that the threat posed by the potentially-lethal coronavirus strain has seen Las Vegas Sands Corporation’s venues in Nevada, which include The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino, shuttered until the end of the month. This ongoing menace furthermore purportedly prompted the government of Singapore to close the giant operator’s Marina Bay Sands facility until at least May 4 although the update from Adelson disclosed that it would be pushing ahead with plans to spend upwards of $3 billion on expanding this iconic development.
The venue is additionally active in the gambling enclave of Macau where its Sands China Limited subordinate is responsible for five venues encompassing The Venetian Macao, The Plaza Macao, Sands Macao, The Parisian Macao and the Sands Cotai Central developments. Adelson’s filing reportedly divulged that his firm still intends to part with approximately $1.3 billion so as to rebrand this latter venue as The Londoner Macao and add a further 1.7 million sq ft of space as well as almost 650 new rooms and suites.
Reportedly read Adelson’s update…
“We are fortunate that our financial strength will allow us to continue to execute our previously-announced capital expenditure programmes in both Macau and Singapore.”