etween 2,000 and 4,000 labourers recently resumed work at its two half-completed projects, known as sites five and six, CEO Steve Jacobs told Reuters in a telephone interview on Monday. This follows a near two-year hiatus as the debt-laden company looked to conserve cash during the financial crisis.
Shares in Sands China, the world's second-most valuable casino operator after its parent, have fallen 4 %, underperforming its rivals, since it postponed a news conference in late March to officially announce it was restarting construction of the projects. "We've got a series of announcements coming up, so it made more sense to bundle them all together," Jacobs said, dismissing speculation of delays caused by labour issues.
The perception of delays - whether true or not - could weigh on Sands share price until the issue is cleared up, said Gabriel Chan, a Credit Suisse analyst, before the interview. "Once those problems are solved, the performance will be much better."
The project, whose first two phases will cost us$ 2.35 billion to develop, will house the world's biggest casino as well as a Shangri-La, Traders and Sheraton hotels. They would complement Sands China's three existing Macau casinos, including the massive Venetian Macau.
With the addition of those properties, Sands' market share in Macau could jump to 30-35 %, Jacobs said - about a 50 % rise from about 22 % that analysts estimate as the company's current market share.