SJM expects reply on Cotai land application this year

Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Issue 1122, Page 2
Word count: 582
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

Chief Executive Officer of SJM, Ambrose So Shu Fai, said he hopes that the company can hear a response from the Government regarding their Cotai land application by the end of this year.

He told reporters on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of the Hollywood “Legends” Exhibition at Ponte 16 yesterday.

So stressed that although SJM has applied for two plots of land on the Cotai Strip, the total land area is not significant especially in comparison with other gaming operators which have already been granted land there.

“We hope to have a larger space for development… SJM has the least exposure in Cotai so we’ve expressed that if there is other land available [Sands China parcels 7 and 8] we’ll be interested in it,” he said.

However, he pointed out that nobody can “pressurise” the Government about whether to put Parcels 7 and 8 in the market.

“I think any organisations or concessionaires can express their interest and there is nothing wrong with it,” So said.

“We prefer both [Parcels 7 and 8 as well as the two parcels that they’ve applied for],” he added.

As for the land application SJM has lodged back in 2007, he said that hopefully the result will be out by the end of this year.

In regard to his speculation on the gaming revenue, So said the performance for the fourth quarter will not grow as much as in the first nine months of this year.

“For the whole year of 2010, I expect there will be an increase of around 40 percent,” he added.

Meanwhile, So denied there are any plans to cooperate with Macao Studio City or any of the other five gaming operators to jointly develop the Cotai Strip.

He also said that when SJM starts developing in Cotai, it will add more non-gaming components including development of the cultural industry.

“But we also have to look at whether this new component will be able to bring more economic benefits to the company,” he pointed out.

Since the Government has previously talked about raising the casino age limit to 21, So said SJM welcomes the legislation as it can let “the minors stay in school to study more before they join a profession”.

Reduce tax

On the other hand, Ambrose So was among the second group of businessmen having been invited to meet with the Chief Executive yesterday to exchange ideas for the 2011 Policy Address.

Each of the six gaming operators is required to pay 1.6 percent of its gross gaming revenue per year to the Macau Foundation, which supports the development of culture, technology, education, social organisations and leisure in the territory.

So said he suggested some exemptions to the gaming operators and the Macau Foundation return part of the taxation to them so that the money can be used to organise more cultural, recreational and educational activities for their casino workers.

In addition, he urged the Government to give a clearer idea about the allocation of imported labour quotas so that the gaming operators can prepare their human resources development plan accordingly.

The SJM CEO also suggested the Chief Executive consider pegging Pataca with Yuan in order to alleviate the livelihood pressure of local people, since most of the commodities in Macau are imported from the Mainland.

“A sunshine government means that transparency and administrative efficiency can be enhanced. I hope that in the 2011 Policy Address I can see the implementation of ‘sunshine policies’,” he told reporters.

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