reliminary approval from the stock exchange paves the way for a Sands initial public offering expected to raise us$ 2 billion or more to help the company pay off huge debt and revive a major casino-resort project in Macau, Chinese booming gambling enclave.
The exchange's listing committee recently greenlighted the effort, according a person familiar with the matter, who was not identified because the approval has yet to be formally announced.
Macau, located about an hour's ferry ride from Hong Kong and the one place in China where gambling is legal, has surpassed the Las Vegas Strip as the world's most lucrative casino market.
The IPO, expected to debut later this year, would mark the second from an American casino operator in Hong Kong. Shares in the Macau resorts of billionaire Steve Wynn, rival of Sand's founder Sheldon Adelson, debuted earlier this month.
Representatives from Sands and Hong Kong's stock exchange had no immediate comment. Sands' Macau business, which includes the massive Venetian casino resort, has helped offset losses the company is suffering amid a downturn in the U.S. gambling industry.
On Thursday, Sands reported a larger third-quarter loss due to weaker gambling markets, increased taxes, and costs from the development of its new resort in Singapore. However, comments by Adelson that bad luck for casinos may be turning around sent shares up more than 8 % in aftermarket trading.
Sands is working to lower its us$ 11.76 billion in debt as of September 30 by raising capital, selling peripheral assets and cutting costs at its resorts.