Macau’s casino industry saw a decline of 34.3 percent in gross gaming revenue during 2015 and Pharaoh’s Palace Casino had similar margins, witnessing a drop of 34.7 percent in gross gaming revenue, bringing in just HKD 744.4 million.
The Pharaoh’s Palace Casino runs on a SJM Holdings Ltd license and is owned by Macau Legend Development Ltd, a company that has invested heavily into Macau’s casino and hospitality industry. Macau Legend recently announced that their board had made a decision to go ahead and sell with the Pharaoh’s Palace Casino as the continuous decline of the casino industry made it difficult for the casino to make any significant profits.
Macau Legend had submitted a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on the 23rd of March confirming its intention of selling its Landmark Macau casino hotel where the Pharaoh’s Palace Casino is located. While the buyer of the casino is listed as “Li C.K.” in the filing, the Hong Kong Economic Journal has revealed that those initials stand for Li Chi Keung, a shareholder who has a 12 percent stake in Macau Legend.
Macau Legend, which had a HKD478.9 million net profit in 2014, had a very tough year in 2015 and recorded a net loss of HKD268.5 million in 2015. The company is currently focusing on a number of new projects including its $279 million Cape Verde casino resort and its Legend Palace Hotel in Macau Fisherman’s Wharf. The company is looking to invest the money it receives from the sale of its Pharaoh’s Palace Casino into these new projects.
In a statement, David Chow Kam Fai, chief executive and co-chairman of Macau Legend said “The past year proved to be challenging. The combination of the economic situation in China, the increase in new hotel and casino capacity in Macau and the changing profile of the visitors to Macau were among the key issues that negatively impacted gaming and non-gaming businesses”.
Chow highlighted the fact that as of now, only a letter of intent has been filed with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and stated that a number of terms and conditions have to be worked out and agreed upon before the sale could be officially completed. Based on the company’s 2015 filing, the Landmark Macau hotel was valued at around HKD5.47 billion.
Macau Legend is looking to leverage China’s ‘One Road, One Belt’ policy and expand their presence in South East Asia where the casino industry has continued to experience growth. Chow stated that while the company is disposing of its Landmark Macau hotel, it remains fully committed to the Macau Fisherman’s Wharf project and will continue to develop its non-gaming offerings in Macau.