THE MACAU METRO MONITOR

FAMILY CONNECTIONS ARE A MIXED BLESSING FOR FERNANDO CHUI scmp.com

The new Macau chief executive seems to be an ideal executive from Beijing’s perspective.  While Beijing is pleased, the Macau public doubts his impartiality.  Dr. Chui is from on of Macau’s few ruling clans in a region where rule of law can often be trumped by power and connections. 

Dr. Chui has yet to convince the public that he can avoid conflicts of interest arising from his business and family background.  The Chui family has widespread business interests in Macau, covering properties, construction, tourism and commodities.  Chui has tried to assure the public that his family background will not affect his impartiality. 

For more detail on the Chui family’s business influences, read this article published late last week in the South China Morning Post.

MACAU’S NEW LEADER RAISES PROSPECT OF CASINO REVIVAL bloomberg.com

Macau’s new leader says that “the Motherland” will provide powerful backing to the gaming hub of Macau.  There are expectations that the new chief executive will bring about a smoother relationship with the central government.  In light of the visitation numbers revealing an 11% year on year decline in visitation, many in Macau will be hoping for a loosening of visa restrictions under the new chief.

WYNN –LVS IPO “RACE” IS ON destination-macau.com

Destination Macau lays out the race to file IPOs between perpetual rivals Steve Wynn and Sheldon Adelson.  DM believes that a Wynn listing is a high probability in the fourth quarter of this year and would be well received by the market. They question why Sheldon leaked his intention to file the IPO application "early next month" just hours before getting on his plane to Beijing, where he has spent the past week. The article speculates that Sheldon went to China to look at his "other options" for the financial rescue of his debt-laden, cashflow-rich, Macau casinos, such as a direct purchase of equity in Venetian Macau Limited that negates the need for an IPO. 

Amongst Adelson’s appeal to Beijing is a long list which includes a very influential partner in Lot 3, David Chu of the Far Eastern Group, who has an interest in seeing the Cotai Strip become a reality. The Macau and Chinese governments would also like to see construction on Lot 5 & 6 resumed and the tens of thousands of jobs created as a result. Finally, having a Chinese equity partner would make Adelson's ambitions both more manageable and more realistic in Macau.  More news on the topic is sure to be discussed on LVS’s earnings call next Thursday.  The article also speculates that results will be “strong.”

LADY LUCK FAVORS HO SIBLINGS destination-macau.com

Apparently City of Dreams has had a reversal of luck in the first 22 days of July.  The hold rate is speculated to be close to 5% on rolling-chip turnover, mass volumes are said to be up about 25 per cent, as well. The better performance at CoD is not seemingly at the expense of Altira, which is said to be doing better in July.  If the streak continues, Melco is on track to take an 18.4% share, putting them in third place, behind SJM (23%) and LVS (19.6%), and well ahead of Wynn (13.4%).

The most astonishing result from the preliminary numbers, however, comes not from the Lawrence’s results but from his sister, the Pansy Ho. This source claims that MGM Grand, has made more money than Wynn so far and taken a 14.8% market share as a result of the power of direct high-rollers.

Apparently the news is not so bright for Galaxy.  Despite having a record month for turnover, the group's win-hold percentage was a negative 2%. So some very happy people have gone home this month with lots of the Lui family's money in their pockets, leaving Galaxy with just 10.8% of market share in revenues.

AIRPORT DOWN, VIVA UP destination-macau.com

As was previously published, the Macau International Airport saw throughput of passengers (down 24%) and cargo (down 64%) plunge in the first half of this year, hit by the double whammy of the global economy and the initiation of direct flights between Taiwan and the mainland.

In addition, Viva Macau, the city's second carrier, has expanded its Ho Chi Minh City service to daily, which should bring a little more volume through Macau’s airport.  The airline is growing in capacity, too. It will soon take delivery of a Boeing 767-300ER, which will allow Viva to increase capacity and frequency on its existing routes to Tokyo, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta and Sydney. It would also allow the airline to reach new destinations should they be opened such as Moscow or Bombay...

PHENGU THINKS BIG destination-macau.com

Officials in Penghu say they are confident of getting a referendum passed among all 90,000 of their residents to allow a casino to be built there.


According to Reuters, the Penghu County government has proposed its casino resort on 130 coastal hectares with hotels, duty-free shops, a convention centre and a golf course, costing a total of around $1BN.

TAIWAN EASES CURBS ON TOURISM BY INDIVIDUALS scmp.com

Taiwan will allow persons who have worked in Hong Kong or Macau for a year or more to visit the island, it has been revealed. The measure is aimed at boosting the island’s tourism industry and is expected to generate an extra HK$2.7 billion in tourism revenue. Under existing regulations, mainlanders who had worked in Hong Kong or Macau for four years could apply to visit Taiwan as individual tourists.

STAKE SALE CASTS NEW LIGHT ON MACAU INC scmp.com

This article details the small and politically influential group of business families that have loomed large over most aspects of Macau’s domestic economy for decades.  Included in the article is detail on Macau Chief Executive Edmund Ho Hau-wah, and how his family has played a prominent role in business in Macau, owning country clubs, hotels, and stakes in airlines, amongst other ventures.  The line between business and politics in Macau is often blurred.  Read the article here.


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