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Home arrow Macau arrow No more employee cuts, says Weidner
No more employee cuts, says Weidner PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 14 January 2009
by Kimberly Johans

Las Vegas Sands Corp. made clear their intention not to make any further employee cuts than have already been made, during a press conference yesterday.
This intention was conveyed via a statement by President and Chief Operating Officer of Las Vegas Sands Corp., Mr William Weidner, after the handover ceremony of the new Adelson Advanced Education Center (AAEC) of the University of Macau.
“The positions that we eliminated were primarily managerial. We did not cut one gaming or one Macau local position,” Weidner added.
As for the reduction in employee hours, he pointed out that this had been done because “we had people programmed to go to parcels 5 & 6. That was the plan.”
He added that with the advent of the financial crisis and the subsequent closing of those lots, “we worked with the government and union to try and find a way to employ as many as we could.”
Weidner stressed that once parcels 5 & 6 are re-opened, “not only will those people go back to full time, we will need to employ more people to work on those lots.”
Questions on LV Sands' position regarding Henquin Island and Taiwan's lifting of their casino ban were also raised.
With regards to the former, Weidner was quick to point out that “support” and “experience” was what LV Sands was willing to offer.   
“Our intention on Henquin Island is to be 'less American' in our approach – not to dominate but to support,” he said.
He added that the company was willing to share their “expertise in development and exhibitions,” that the development would be “support for Macau, Zhuhai and the PRD [Pearl River Delta].”
Meanwhile, Taiwan's parliament lifted its decades-old ban on casinos on Monday allowing the offshore islands to build casinos only if they are approved by residents in referenda.
When asked about whether LV Sands had any interests in investing in Taiwan and thus reducing their investments here in Macau, Weidner was adamant in disproving the suggestion.
“We love the Taiwan market and the people,” he said, adding that while the company believed it to be “a very important place,” they were not looking to invest “in the short term.”
Weidner stressed that “our priorities are to complete our investments here in Macau and Singapore.”
A full statement of the company's position regarding investments into the Venetian Macao, the gaming resort's revenue and visitor statistics, parcels 5 & 6 and LV Sands' Singapore project were also discussed with local media during the dedicated session yesterday.
Weidner pointed out that despite what the company's competitors had suggested, “that we took money away from Macau and invested it somewhere else,” this wasn't true.
He added that “all our earnings in Macau have stayed in Macau and were matched five times over by additional investments in Macau.”
He noted that the company's internal survey results showed that only 25 percent of visitors to the Venetian came for gaming. Of the 75 percent remaining, 30 percent were from mainland China, even though China accounts for 56 percent of visitors to Macau.
Weidner added that over 95 percent of the company's investments in Macau have been in the non-gaming area, such as the Four Seasons.
With regards to parcels 5 & 6, Weidner said he was aware of reports claiming that he blamed the Macau and Central governments for their suspension, but wanted to make it clear that “these reports were not true.”
He added that the suspension of the parcels were “a direct outcome of the global credit crisis” which had affected the company's investments not only in Macau, “but has also resulted in the suspension of several projects in the United States.”
Weidner spoke of their usual approach to attracting investment admitting that “at times this projection of confidence is interpreted as an over-direct, over-powering American attitude,” but added that the current crisis had “humbled us.”
Yet he remained confident that “the Macau government will create conditions for a business environment so that Macau will remain attractive to global investors…”
A move away from VIP gaming was also mentioned, where Weidner pointed out that by December 2008, earnings in mass gaming amounted to 44 percent, while VIP gaming only accounted for 16 percent. In addition, the Venetian Macao's non-gaming earnings had reached 40 percent.
Meanwhile, the session with local media was preceded by the handover ceremony for the AAEC. The ceremony unveiled to the public for the first time the research and teaching facilities at the education centre.
The ceremony was presided over by Mr Weidner along with Professor Wei Zhao, Rector of the University of Macau.
Also present were Dr Tse Chi Wai, Chair of the University Council, Mr Daniel Shim, Senior Vice President of Human Resources for the Venetian Macao and Mr Stephen Weaver, Asia Region President for Las Vegas Sands.
In his speech, Professor Zhao said that “the core mission of the University of Macau is to provide excellent teaching, research and community services. Our foremost tasks are to best serve the Macau community, foster potential leaders with international horizons, enhance the University’s position as a premier university and be globally recognised.”
He added that the establishment of the AAEC was an important part of that goal.
“Under this cooperation, the University of Macau can provide a brand new, off-campus venue dedicated to business and management-related training. Moreover, it will provide a new drive for the development of our undergraduate and postgraduate programs in the areas of MICE and Hospitality, improve the professionalism and competitiveness of our students, enhance the diversified development of local industries and contribute further to the local society as well as the nurturing of leaders in different aspects,” said Professor Zhao.
Meanwhile Mr Weidner spoke of the establishment of the centre being “a crucial step to reinforcing the cooperation between our corporation and the academia.”
He added that the centre plays a “key role in developing local talent in the emerging non-gaming fields of conventions and exhibitions, entertainment, retail and integrated resort management.
“These talents are essential to transforming Macau from a gaming centre into Asia’s premier business and leisure destination.” said Weidner.
Additionally, the two groups are currently discussing a community education project with the Macau Federation of Trade Unions to provide non-gaming diploma courses for industry staff.
The 15,446-square-feet centre consists of a 100-seat lecture hall, six multi-function classrooms with seating capacity for 24 to 100 people, two meeting rooms, and a Small & Medium-sized Enterprise Resource Centre accessible to the public.

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