International edition
September 24, 2021

Sheldon Adelson has said he’s considering a bond sale

Las Vegas Sands to tap “improving” Capital Markets

(US / Macau).- Las Vegas Sands Corp., controlled by billionaire Sheldon Adelson, plans to raise funds to restart its us$ 12 billion casino-resort project in Macau after the freeze in credit markets eased.

There are obviously improving conditions in the capital and financial markets and we intend to take advantage of that as well as we can,” Las Vegas Sands’ Asia President Stephen Weaver said in an interview in Macau yesterday. “I’m spending a lot of time talking to the capital markets and financiers.”

 

The casino operator last year stopped work on its 20,000-room complex of hotels and casinos on Macau’s Cotai Strip amid the seizing up of the credit markets, dwindling revenue and the risk of defaulting on some loans. Adelson has said he’s considering a bond sale and is looking at a “private or public” minority investment in the company’s Macau properties.

 

“Floating the company makes sense to me,” Gabriel Chan, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Credit Suisse Group, said in an interview in Macau today, citing Las Vegas Sands’ 76 percent share-price gain this year. “It’s very difficult for them to sell assets like malls because whoever buys has no control over the casino.”

 

Adelson on March 10 said he’s in talks with four groups of potential investors in Las Vegas Sands’ operating Macau properties, the Sands, Venetian and Four Seasons. About 19 parties have indicated interest in two shopping malls the company is selling in Macau, he has said. “Selling of assets doesn’t include selling of casinos,” Weaver said today.

 

Equity markets have recovered this year, with 90 of 92 global stock benchmarks tracked by Bloomberg gaining in the past month. In the 12 preceding months, only Venezuela’s main share index advanced. Debt markets have also been active, with international bond sales of us$ 2.1 trillion this year, a first-half record according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

 

Las Vegas Sands has surged 76 % this year in U.S. trading after dropping 97 % in 2008. MGM Mirage has dropped 42 %, Wynn Resorts Ltd. has fallen 4 percent and Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. is up 87 % this year.

 

In Hong Kong, billionaire Stanley Ho’s SJM Holdings Ltd. has gained 87 % while Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd.’s stock price has more than doubled. Las Vegas Sands fell 3 % to us$ 10.41 yesterday.

 

Since halting its Macau project, Las Vegas Sands has raised capital and cut worker hours and jobs to trim more than us$ 470 million in costs. The casino operator’s target is for the Cotai project to resume construction this year, Weaver said.

 

“At the moment we have a number of options, a number of interested parties,” Weaver said at the Global Gaming Expo Asia conference in the former Portuguese enclave. “We’re not going to commit. We are continuing to investigate the alternatives.”

 

Las Vegas Sands hasn’t “formally appointed any bank,” Weaver added. “We’re close to a number of them. It’s not a leap of faith to think we will appoint Goldman Sachs. It will be a number of banks.”

 

Adelson has also said he’s met with two construction companies that may invest in the stalled Macau project to get the buildings finished. Part of the unfinished complex is next door to the us$ 2.1 billion City of Dreams, whose opening night Weaver attended. “It’s fabulous, I am impressed,” Weaver said of the new rival casino. The venture “should do well.”

 

Success for the Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. casino should benefit all operators, he said. “The more critical mass there is, it’s very clear that the more people are attracted to the Cotai Strip.”

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