It appointed Deutsche Bank to sponsor a listing it hopes to take place in January

Stanley Ho plays us$ 1 billion IPO card amid gaming boom

(Macau).- Tycoon Stanley Ho Hung-sun's casino flagship Sociedade de Jogos de Macau (SJM) is expected to seek exchange approval today for a Hong Kong IPO to raise at least us$ 1 billion, cashing in on the Macau gaming boom, sources said.
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The company, which first announced its IPO plans in early 2006, has appointed Deutsche Bank to sponsor a listing it hopes will take place in January, the sources said. Last year, Macau overtook the Las Vegas Strip as the world's largest gaming market. SJM is betting on a gaming market expected to see gross revenue grow by more than 23 percent a year through 2010, according to a Credit Suisse report.

"Stanley Ho's got a lot of long-term connections with the VIPs," said Morgan Stanley analyst Rob Hart, referring to big-spending high-rollers who have been key contributors to Macau's gaming boom. "He also has a lot of land, which has a lot of long- term potential given Macau's small size," Hart added.

Macau is the only place in China where casino gaming is legal, and Ho is still the main operator. "Their market share is standing at 37 percent, with Las Vegas Sands at 24, and that's even after the Venetian opening, so they still are the biggest player out there," said Hart.

Industry-wide, Hart said, VIP margins are declining as commissions rise, while on the mass-market side, average revenue per table is declining, putting margins under pressure. BNP Paribas and CLSA will co-lead the offering, with another bank possibly joining the underwriting group, one of the sources said.

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