SINGAPORE (July 16): Resorts World Sentosa, the integrated resort run by Genting Singapore, remained shut for more than two months because of the lockdown measures to curb further spread of Covid-19.

Now, a fortnight after it was allowed to partially reopen, RWS has axed an unconfirmed number of workers out of its total of 9,373 as at end of last year.

The global pandemic has hit other parts of the Genting group. Last month, Genting Malaysia reportedly cut 3,000 job cuts, or about 15% of its workforce.

While parts of the integrated resort, along with other tourism attractions, were allowed to resume operations since July 1, there’s a capacity cap of 25% for the casino, which is the key income generator. Furthermore, only existing Genting Rewards members and annual levy holders are allowed into the casino floor.

In a July 2 note, UOB Kay Hian analysts Vincent Khoo and Jack Goh warn that despite the partial opening, Genting Singapore has to brace for a slow recovery. They downgraded the stock to “hold” with a target price of 80 cents.

“We gauge that 2020 will be a wash-out year as 1H2020 earnings will take a heavy toll from plunging hotel occupancy rates and gaming revenues before the lockdowns, and zero revenue during the temporary closures in the lockdown periods,” they said.

“A slow recovery is expected with impediments on international travel into Singapore and reduced gaming capacity,” they noted.

According to the Straits Times, most of the workers let go at RWS are not locals.

As part of the $93 billion combined rescue and support package, the government is subsidising wages of citizens and permanent residents. Out of Genting Singapore’s end-2019 headcount of 9,373, 72.5% are Singaporeans and PRs.

UOB Kay Hian estimates Genting Singapore will enjoy cost savings of some $91 million in the form of wage subsidies and other rebates and support.

“We fully understand the difficulty and anxiety this means to impacted team members and their families. RWS takes a long-term view of our manpower needs, including the consideration to maintain a strong Singaporean core,” stated RWS, adding that it will work with various parties to help workers who were let go.

“We will continue to engage RWS on their recovery plans and transformation journey,” said Ng Chee Meng, secretary general of the National Trade Union Congress, in a Facebook post.

“We urge other employers to also tap on NTUC Job Security Council to assist workers to transit to new employment quickly,” added Ng.

News of the retrenchments were out during market hours. Genting Singapore shares closed July 15 at 78 cents, up 1 cent.