Marina Bay Sands' S$4.5 billion expansion plan set to hit another snag
The commencement of the expansion plan, which includes MBS' fourth tower, was already pushed back last year due to the issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
SINGAPORE: Marina Bay Sands (MBS) is unlikely to begin construction of its S$4.5 billion project in April 2023 as planned, according to a filing by parent company Las Vegas Sands (LVS) to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Feb 3.
In 2019, LVS announced a US$3.3 billion expansion plan for a new development adjacent to the site of the integrated resort and slated for completion in 2026.
Among the planned features include MBS' fourth tower, featuring about 1,000 hotel rooms, a 15,000-seater entertainment arena, a sky roof with a swimming pool and a restaurant. There will also be new ballrooms, exhibition halls and luxury retailers.
However, the expansion plan hit a snag due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) granted the integrated resort operator a 12-month commencement extension last year.
According to an SEC filing dated Mar 30 last year, MBS has until Apr 8, 2023 to "commence construction" on the plans defined in the Second Development agreement it signed with the STB in April 2019.
A second delay looks likely after LVS said in its latest filing to the commission that it does "not expect to be able to timely commence" work in April 2023, as agreed upon in the timeline.
"We are in discussions with the Singapore government on the duration of the timeline extension for commencement and completion of the expansion of Marina Bay Sands to fulfil our obligations," said the American casino and resort company.
"If such extension is not obtained, we will be in breach of our obligations under the Second Development agreement."
LVS added that construction projects are subject to cost overruns and delays caused by events outside of their control such as shortages of materials, skills labour, unforeseen engineering and more.
Responding to CNA's queries, an STB spokesperson said the tourism board will continue to monitor the progress of the developments.
"While the (integrated resorts) have previously indicated there are potential delays in the completion of their projects, they remain committed to their expansion plans. The (integrated resorts) have and will continue to enrich Singapore’s tourism offerings," the spokesperson added.
CONFIDENT MBS CAN CONTINUE TO FLOURISH
The company's late chairman and CEO Sheldon G Anderson said in 2019 that the new MBS development would help grow overall tourism to Singapore, continue to create good jobs for Singaporeans and give a boost to local companies.
Despite the likely delay, LVS has expressed its confidence in the continued success of its MBS integrated resort in its 4Q 2022 results report last month, following the easing of COVID-19 measures.
Chairman and CEO Robert G Goldstein said: "In Singapore, we were pleased to see the robust recovery continue at Marina Bay Sands during the quarter, with the property delivering record levels of performance in both mass gaming and retail revenue.
"We are excited to have the opportunity to introduce our new suite product to more customers as airlift capacity improves, and growth in visitation from China and the wider region is enabled by the relaxing of travel restrictions."
An MBS spokesperson said it has no further information to provide beyond what was in the LVS filing.