With the casino industry shut down by the coronavirus, Sheldon Adelson is suspending Las Vegas Sands Corp.’s dividend. He’s also looking to purchase existing resorts from others for the first time, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Sands’ majority shareholder, Adelson said Thursday the savings will help shore up the company’s finances as it weathers the shutdown of casinos in the U.S. and Singapore, and a sharp cutback in Macau. He personally collected $1.22 billion in dividends last year out of a total of $2.37 billion.

“I am known for the phrase, ‘Yay dividends!,’ and I assure you that it is still my mantra,” Adelson, the company’s founder and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “As I look forward to the day -- soon let us hope -- when this terrible virus is no longer of concern -- I see many strategic opportunities for our company precisely because of our financial strength.”

Sands will continue some $5.5 billion in investments in projects under construction, including a new hotel tower in Singapore and the remodeling of a Macau property that is being rebranded the Londoner. The company is also still pursuing expansion opportunities, such as a new casino in Japan and one in New York City, if legislators allow them.

But the Las Vegas-based company is also considering buying existing resorts for the first time, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private deliberations. Adelson is looking to take advantage of potential discounts the company could find amid the industry contraction. He is interested in properties that play to the company’s strength -- large resorts in tourist destinations that focus on meeting and convention business, they said.

Adelson has been one of the largest supporters of Republican candidates in the U.S., and the dividend cut isn’t expected to curtail his giving this year, one of the people said. Adelson lobbied to help pass the $2.2 trillion stimulus bill signed by President Donald Trump last month because it helps small businesses. He said Sands won’t seek government loans.

The 86-year-old billionaire was one of several dozen CEOs named on Tuesday to Trump’s advisory group on how to get the U.S. economy growing again after the coronavirus crisis.

Virtually all of the casinos in the U.S. have been closed for the past month, leading to an unprecedented crash in revenue. Companies have hustled to raise cash and cut costs.

Sands has said it will continue to pay employees through the shutdown, including making up for lost tips. Wynn Resorts Ltd. has followed a similar path, while rivals including MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment Corp. have put workers on unpaid furloughs.

The company’s Macau affiliate, Sands China Ltd., is also suspending its final dividend for 2019. It paid out a total dividend of $616 million to outside shareholders last year.

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