MGM China has secured a loan of $750 million from its parent company through a subordinated revolving loan facility, a filing from the gaming operator to Hong Kong’s stock exchange shows.
The operator of the MGM Cotai casino resort, which was recently ordered to shut down for three days with a total of 1,500 staff and guests ordered to stay inside after a dealer was found to be infected with COVID, has been racking up losses as strict Covid rules hammered visitor numbers to the gaming hub over the past two years.
Last week, the company reported a widening third-quarter loss with negative EBITDA of $68 million, while MGM China President Hubert Wang told analysts that the company was burning through about $1.5 million a day, as reported by Nikkei Asia.
On Friday, MGM said in an exchange filing that it had struck an agreement to tap up to $750 million with its controlling shareholder, MGM Resorts International, at an annual interest rate of 4% with a 24-month repayment schedule. But it added that it was not in dire need of funds.
“MGM China does not need any financing at this time, with over 9.7 billion Hong Kong dollars ($1.2 billion) in liquidity,” read a statement sent to the above mentioned-media. “However, we believe this is an important indication of our confidence in the long-term growth potential of Macao and reflects MRI’s support in its Macau subsidiary.”
“The agreement highlights both MRI’s and the Company’s confidence in the long-term growth potential of Macau. The availability of the Facility further bolsters the Company’s already strong financial position in meeting future working capital and other funding needs,” MGM China said, as reported by Macau Business.
As of the date of the announcement, MGM Resorts International controls a 56% stake in the casino operator in Macau.
Macau operators Wynn Macau, Melco Resorts, Sands China, SJM Holdings, and Galaxy Entertainment have been drowning in a sea of red ink, with the city’s six licensed concessionaires earlier reporting half-year losses topping a combined $2 billion.
In June, Wynn Resorts supplied a $500 million loan to its Macau subsidiary, while SJM Holdings received a $255 million loan from its controlling company STDM in August. Sands China entered a $1 billion lending deal with its parent company in July.
“It’s inevitable the Macau entity needs a cash injection from its parent company,” gaming expert Ben Lee at consultancy iGamix said of MGM China. “In fact, should MGM China succeed in securing a new concession, it will need even greater amounts and it’ll have to be unencumbered cash under the new law.”
Seven companies have put in bids for six new licenses to run casinos in the city, with current operating rights set to expire at the end of the year. Winners of the bids must have a share capital of 5 billion patacas ($633 million) to keep operating for a period of 10 years.
Macau is the only place in China where casinos are legal and was the world’s biggest gaming hub before the pandemic, generating about six times the annual gaming revenue of archrival Las Vegas. But annual visitor numbers have plummeted from 39 million in 2019 when Macao raked in gaming revenue of about $36 billion.
The city follows China’s zero-COVID policy. Macau’s economy contracted by 39.3% in the second quarter from the same period last year. Last month, Fitch Ratings said it expects Macao’s operators to reach out for more support if they continue to grapple with negative cash flow.
As of late, the government has relaxed some policies by allowing Chinese residents to travel to Macau using an online visa system and plans to open up to mainland tour groups. However, Chinese tourists worry that they might be sent into quarantine when they return home, meaning travel recovery remains fairly slow.