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Melco says Studio City Phase 2 development now unlikely to be complete by May 2022 deadline

Melco Resorts & Entertainment says it is unlikely to meet the 31 May 2022 deadline for completion of Phase 2 of Macau integrated resort, Studio City.

In an SEC filing detailing plans to purchase Class A Shares as part of a private placement offering by its subsidiary and Studio City operating entity Studio City International Holdings Ltd, Melco revealed it has been forced to extend the construction period due to disruptions from the COVID-19 outbreak.

Under the terms of its land concession with the Macau SAR Government, Melco is required to complete development of Studio City Phase 2 by 31 May 2022, having already extended the deadline once from its original date of 24 July 2019.

On Wednesday, the company said there is now “no guarantee” it will complete the development of the remaining land of Studio City by the deadline.

“Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, we estimated a construction period of approximately 32 months for the remaining project,” Melco said. “With the disruptions from the Covid-19 outbreak, the construction period has been delayed and is expected to extend beyond the estimated 32 months and the current development period.

“In the event that additional time is required to complete the development of the remaining project for Studio City, we will have to apply for an extension of the relevant development period which shall be subject to Macau government review and approval at its discretion.”

Melco also cited a need to raise considerably more funding to complete development of Phase 2, some of which will come from the private placement to current shareholders announced earlier this week. The placement is expected to raise between US$450 million and US$500 million.

According to Melco’s SEC filing, expenditure on the project currently sits at US$104.9 million with full development cost estimated at between US$1.25 billion and US$1.3 billion.

“Although we have already made significant capital investments for the development for the remaining land of Studio City, we expect to require significant additional capital investments to complete the development,” the company said.

There was some better news, however, with Melco also revealing it has managed to reduce average daily operating costs at its Macau properties to around US$700,000 during 2Q20, considerably lower than costs of US$2.5 million the company cited during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have taken various mitigating measures to manage through the current Covid-19 outbreak challenges, such as implementing a cost reduction program to minimize cash outflow of non-essential items and rationalizing our capital expenditure program with deferrals and reductions which benefits our balance sheet,” the company explained.

“During April and May of 2020, our average daily operating costs were approximately US$0.7 million, reflecting a decrease from the run-rate levels in the first quarter of 2020.”

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