Mass market, operating leverage key for Macau ops

Earnings by Macau casino operators “will be more resilient” compared to other consumer segments in China, suggests a report issued this week by the Morgan Stanley banking group.

Macau gaming stocks on the Hong Kong bourse had a “strong first-half 2023, but lost momentum in the rest of 2023 as the market worried Macau gaming revenue had peaked and might follow the decline in China consumption,” wrote analysts Praveen Choudhary and Gareth Leung.

Macau casinos stocks were down “15 percent in 2023 overall,” underperforming the Hang Seng Index by two points.

“This was despite 334 percent year-on-year growth in GGR [gross gaming revenue], and industry EBITDA [earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation, and amortisation] recovering to 70 percent of pre-Covid levels in 2023,” said the Morgan Stanley team.

“We think multiple de-rating for Macau [operators] has been overdone”, given these firms have “more resilient earnings profiles” compared to other sectors. “Macau has not seen negative earnings revision in the scale of Chinese discretionary names,” stated Mr Choudhary and Mr Leung.

According to the analysts, “key drivers” for Macau casino stocks this year “will be mass-market share trends and operating leverage. “The sector is now trading at 10x enterprise value to EBITDA, and 10 percent free cash flow to equity yield on our 2024 estimate, which we think is attractive,” they added.

The institution expects Macau casino industry EBITDA “to grow 34 percent” this year compared to 2023, reaching “100 percent of 2019 by the end of 2024.”

“Despite a lower year-on-year growth for GGR in 2024 versus those in 2023, we think GGR will still grow at a healthy, over 10 percent most months in 2024,” observed the Morgan Stanley analysts.

The bank forecast mass-market GGR in Macau to increase by 25 percent year-on-year in 2024, reaching “120 percent” of 2019 levels by the end this year.

“Macau mass GGR reached 110 percent to 120 percent of the 2019 level during the recent peak holidays, with spend per head remaining resilient/ stronger than pre-Covid,” noted the analysts. “We think part of this was enabled by 17 percent more hotel rooms added during Covid,” they added.

BY: 파워볼게임

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