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Las Vegas Sands to Restart Stalled Macau Cotai Strip Projects

By Howard Stutz, Las Vegas Review-JournalMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Nov. 11, 2009--Las Vegas Sands Corp. plans to restart the company's stalled hotel-casino projects on Macau's Cotai Strip region, according to published reports.

The company, which operates the Venetian and Palazzo, halted its Cotai Strip developments a year ago when financing dried up and the company was forced into a $2.1 billion recapitalization effort in order to avoid bankruptcy because it couldn't cover its long term debt payments.

The move reduced company founder and chairman Sheldon Adelson's controlling stake in Las Vegas Sands by about 20 percent. Adelson, who is Las Vegas Sands chief executive officer, controls about 53 percent of the company' stock.

Las Vegas Sands is in the process of launching an initial public offering on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange by selling shares of the company's Macau holdings, which include the massive Venetian Macau, Sands Macau and Four Seasons Macau.

The company hopes to raise $3.83 billion through the offering and said it wants to restart some of its Cotai projects, including hotel-casinos carrying the Shangri-La, Traders and Sheraton brands.

Citing anonymous sources, the Wall Street Journal reported that construction could begin again in January. A person familiar with the matter said Las Vegas Sands plans to hire 12,000 to 13,000 construction workers over the next 12 to 18 months to restart work on the project.

There will also be limited retail space and some convention and meeting space in the first phase that is set for the mid-2011 launch, according to the report.

Gaming revenue in Macau jumped to a record in October according to unofficial figures released last week. Revenue for the six American casino operators jumped to $1.59 billion, up 42 percent from a year ago, and 17.6 percent higher than September.

Tourism spiked in the gambling enclave due to an unusually long public holiday in Mainland China.


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