Las Vegas Sands issued a press release today re-affirming its strategic priorities amid the ongoing health and economic crisis generated by the outbreak of the coronavirus-induced infection.
The Nevada-based casino and hospitality operator Las Vegas Sands /LVS/ is deep in the midst of the virus-stricken gambling industry. And the impact on the operator is huge as all land-based gaming facilities of the company in the US are closed down to support federal and state governments’ effort to contain the spread of the disease.
In addition, its latest Asian project, the $5.6 billion Marina Bay Sands that opened doors 10 years ago in Singapore, was also forced to temporarily close doors, as Singapore Ministry of Health implemented strict measures to enforce social distancing and ordered all non-essential businesses closure. And the integrated casino-type resort will remain closed until May 5, at least.
Team Members Safety The Priority
Under these circumstances, LVS reiterated its strong belief that the greatest priority for the company remained the safety and security of its team members and guests, as well as providing the required support for its local communities in its three main jurisdictions, Las Vegas, Macau and Singapore.
Las Vegas Sands’ Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson was one of the first who raised voice for the casino employees, pledging to keep paying full wages to his workers during the period of casinos closure, for as long as two months, in case the closure continued that long.
Sheldon Adelson even issued an industry rallying call for other companies to do the same and show that their greatest asset is the people that work for them by taking proper care for them during these unprecedented times.
Dividend Suspended, Capital Expenditure Unchanged
As part of its efforts to maintain a strong balance sheet, LVS announced it would suspend dividend program, but would preserve its capital expenditure.
“…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 so that we have maximum optionality in pursuing our strategic vision and in producing future returns. I commit to my fellow shareholders that we will revisit the suspension of the dividend at the earliest reasonable opportunity.”Sheldon Adelson, Chairman and CEO, Las Vegas Sands
Las Vegas Sands has a huge presence, through its subsidiary Sands China, in Macau, the jurisdiction where casinos were first hit with closure back in February. Adelson’s company even created the famous Cotai Strip, by filling with land the bay between the Coloane and Taipa islands, to provide the land to build casino-type resorts.
Maintaining its investment capabilities has proved vital for the company from a historical point of view as always being the innovator, but the full impact of the virus outbreak so far will be unclear to investors until April 22, when LVS is expected to announce its first quarter financial results.