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Old June 22nd, 2009, 06:47 PM   #41
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Mandarin group sells Macau site to Ho flagship
21 January 2009
South China Morning Post

The Mandarin Oriental hotel in Macau is to be sold for HK$1.6 billion to gaming-to-property company Sociedade de Turismo e Diversoes de Macau (STDM), paving the way for a possible redevelopment of the prime site in the city.

Mandarin Oriental International and property developer Shun Tak Holdings said yesterday that they had agreed to sell their respective 50 per cent interests in the 416-room hotel to STDM, which is owned by Stanley Ho Hung-sun and his family.

As a key part of the deal, the sellers have the right to share any increase in the hotel site's value above the sale price if the property is redeveloped or sold to a third party in the future.

Analysts said the site, a two-minute drive from the ferry pier and in the heart of the central business district next to the Sands Macao casino, had high redevelopment potential.

The deal will end Mandarin Oriental International's partial ownership of the 25-year-old hotel. A transition agreement will allow it to operate the hotel for up to two years from completion of the deal, scheduled for May 31.

STDM will rebrand the hotel.

A spokesman for the Mandarin Oriental group denied the hotelier was exiting Macau, which is challenged with slumping tourist arrivals, rising unemployment and Beijing's policy of discouraging mainlanders from gambling.

"STDM's offer is attractive," she said.

The hotel group will manage a 213-room Mandarin Oriental hotel on the waterfront due to open next year.

Based on the sale price, the Mandarin Oriental group will receive proceeds of US$90 million, which will be used to replenish working capital.

The group will realise a post-tax gain of US$75 million this year as the carrying value of the stake in the hotel stood at US$15.7 million as of December 31, 2007. The contribution to earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation was US$10.2 million.

Some analysts said the identity of the buyer was unexpected. One of Asia's largest junket operators, Jack Lam Yin-lok of Jimei Group, had been rumoured to be a frontrunner for the hotel.

Executives of SJM, the gaming arm of STDM, said recently that the company was in talks to mandate Mr Lam to operate Casino Oriental, a remodelled SJM casino adjoined to the Mandarin Oriental hotel.
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Old June 24th, 2009, 10:54 AM   #42
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Icelandic buyer pulls Macau deal
23 June 2009
South China Morning Post

Icelandic investment group and insurer Sjova-Almennar Tryggingar has scrapped the proposed en bloc purchase of a tower at One Central Residences in Macau, Shun Tak Holdings said.

The Reykjavik firm had paid a cancellation fee to Shun Tak and Hongkong Land Holdings, which are jointly developing the project, Shun Tak said yesterday.

Sjova-Almennar agreed in October 2006 to buy the 68-unit Tower Four of One Central Residences - a mixed-use development consisting of seven residential blocks - for HK$782.74 million or HK$4,410 per square foot.

Market sources said the insurer had been looking for a new buyer in the second half of last year before it completed the deal, as Iceland was among the countries worst hit by the global credit crunch.

Sjova-Almennar had paid 30 per cent of the purchase price and was required to pay the balance on or before delivery this year.

"I'm surprised to learn that it quit the deal without securing a new buyer and was returning the property to the developers," said Gregory Ku Ka-ho, the managing director at Jones Lang LaSalle (Macau).

Many buyers had shown interest in the project and were willing to take it over at HK$3,800 to HK$4,000 per square foot, Mr Ku said. Owners needed to spend about HK$700 to HK$800 per square foot to furnish the units, as they would be bare upon delivery, he added.

Units at One Central Residences, launched for sale in the second half of 2006, fetched more than HK$8,000 per square foot when the market peaked in 2007. But selling prices have dropped to between HK$4,800 and HK$5,000 per square foot in the secondary market.

"Taking up the properties by cancelling the sale-and-purchase agreement will provide an opportunity for the group to realise an attractive return and ... to benefit from the positive outlook of the property market," Shun Tak said in a statement.

Macau's property market was in the doldrums, as homebuyers waited until the political and economic picture became clear after the new chief executive was appointed, Mr Ku said.

Lay-offs at casino-hotel operator Las Vegas Sands Corp and the suspension of its Macau project had also affected the market, he said.

He expected Macau's property market to catch up with the Hong Kong and Zhuhai markets soon.
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Old June 25th, 2009, 06:59 PM   #43
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Incoming Macau leader faces gaming, transparency challenges

MACAU, June 23 (Reuters) - With the world's top gambling hub of Macau at a crossroads from the financial crisis, expectations have mounted for its incoming leader to steer a more sustainable growth path while building a more transparent government.

Ex-minister Fernando Chui has now emerged as Macau's sole candidate for chief executive, after garnering overwhelming support from a 300-person election committee at the close of a formal nomination period on Tuesday, rendering obsolete a planned election on July 26.

While the liberalisation of Macau's casino sector in 2002 has brought the former Portuguese colony rapid economic growth as Las Vegas giants like the Sands and Wynn Resorts piled in, Macau has also been left vulnerable in the downturn given the overwhelming reliance on such gambling lifeblood.

Visa curbs on Chinese visitors have also badly hurt casino operators, though there's been speculation Beijing might soon scrap such curbs as an election gift to Chui.

"For the gambling industry to reach a natural, healthy level you need to invest greater resources so that the economy is more diversified," Ambrose So, the CEO of SJM Holdings, the casino flagship of gaming tycoon Stanley Ho, told Reuters.

While So said he didn't expect Chui to drastically change any gaming policies, he welcomed more regulations on Macau's junket operators who now dominate the lucrative VIP high-roller market.

"We all hope that the new governing team can further regulate the gaming industry, to improve the system," So added.

Eva Lou, a spokeswoman for Chui, told Reuters it was too early to comment on his possible gaming policies as Macau leader.

Some analysts, however, said Chui could face pressure to cut Macau's hefty gaming taxes of around 39 percent, to boost its casino's margins and improve overall competitiveness against Singapore, whose upcoming mega-casinos will be taxed far less.

"The current casinos are not generating very superior returns," said Aaron Fischer, the Asian head of gaming research for CLSA Asia.

"So at the moment, there's very little incentive for the existing casino operators to invest in Macau."

Yet with the Macau government needing to invest heavily in transport and other public infrastructure in the coming years, David Green, a consultant who advises Macau on gambling policy, said he didn't expect tax cuts anytime soon given the city's great reliance on gaming for around 70 percent of its revenues.

INSIDER

Chui, a former senior government official with a broad policy portfolio spanning culture, sports and public health, comes from one of Macau's most powerful and wealthy families whose commercial interests include construction, finance and health.

While Chui's business and public policy pedigree will help him govern, some in the enclave are uncomfortable with Chui's close links to the corruption-tainted administration of incumbent Macau leader Edmund Ho.

"People think that he belongs to the old team of government and officials and that is why his popularity is low," said Jose Coutinho, a Macau lawmaker and one of the few election committee members not to endorse Chui.

On the Macau website "www.macauhero.com" a straw poll of around 4,000 people found only 12 percent backed Chui, while 60 percent voted for a public prosecutor who decided not to run.

Chui, 52, resigned from his post as social affairs and culture secretary in May to run for office, pledging to build a "truly clean and highly efficient" government if elected.
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Old June 27th, 2009, 11:46 AM   #44
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By Katashi from dchome - note the new Lisboa extension in the cityscape :

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Old June 29th, 2009, 02:18 PM   #45
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Chinese mainland leases land in Guangdong to Macao for university expansion

BEIJING, June 27 (Xinhua) -- China's top legislature adopted Saturday a bill to give the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) jurisdiction over 1.09 square kilometers of land on an island in the southern province of Guangdong for about 40 years.

Under the bill, the mainland will offer part of Hengqin Island to Macao under a lease as the new site for the University of Macao.

The university, a prestigious public school with nearly 6,600 students, now occupies about 0.05 square km in Macao.

The land on the island is now under the jurisdiction of Guangdong's Zhuhai City, which is separated from Macao by the Pearl River Estuary.

Under mainland law, a lease for the purpose of education expires after 50 years. The university's jurisdiction over the new site would expire on Dec. 19, 2049, but could be longer or shorter with the consent of the State Council (cabinet), Zhou Bo, vice director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, explained to the lawmakers Monday.

"Macao is too limited to offer land for the university's expansion," he said, adding the move aims to "further support Macao to develop education and cultivate talent to promote a sound and fast development of the SAR."

The lease arrangement has a precedent. The Hong Kong SAR acquired the right to use the land at the Hong Kong Port Area within the Shenzhen Bay Port by way of lease in 2006.

The State Council (cabinet) approved a development plan for Hengqin Island at an executive meeting Wednesday presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao.

The plan said the Zhuhai special economic zone would include the island,so as to further develop the area's service, tourism, education and high-tech industries.

More industry opening policies would be implemented in Hengqin so as to forge a new mode of cooperation among Hong Kong, Macao and Guangdong, under the "One-country, two systems" policy, it said.

The ninth session of the Standing Committee of the 11th National People's Congress, the top legislature, closed its latest six-day, bi-monthly session Saturday.
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Old July 4th, 2009, 10:25 PM   #46
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美聯料澳門樓價再升1成
1 July 2009
香港經濟日報

澳門樓市逐步回暖,加上政府推出樓市振興措施,令第二季樓市出現小陽春,新一屆特首及立法會選舉在即,市場預期新政府將推出新政策,下半年澳門整體樓價將有10%升幅,豪宅則上升25%。

美聯澳門行政總裁張一輝表示,由於澳門政府推出利息補貼、信用擔保及減印花稅等措施後,對細價物業帶來正面刺激,200萬元或以下的細價物業價量急升,樓價平均較年初大幅反彈30%。

豪宅追落後 或升25%

美聯澳門營業董事楊朗明稱,下半年多個發展商將趁旺勢推盤,加上多個樓花新盤如壹號湖畔及凱旋門亦於今年入伙,刺激二手交投,以壹號湖畔為例,每月平均錄得逾20宗二手成交。他指出,由於此類豪宅物業樓價上半年平均升幅25%,升幅低於細價物業,加上近月不少香港人及海外買家,重投澳門豪宅市場,故預期下半年豪宅樓價將有25%升幅。

張一輝預期,澳門下半年物業註冊量會有4,000宗,金額為70億元。他續指,現時美聯澳門有3間分行及1間總行,料下半年會增加1至2間分行,人手則由現時的70人增至100人。
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Old July 8th, 2009, 12:43 PM   #47
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Bottom line key as Galaxy comes down to earth
6 July 2009
South China Morning Post

Nearly a year after the credit crisis and tightened visa restrictions on mainland visitors brought Macau's blistering growth to a halt, casino operators have managed down expansion expectations and are focusing on the bottom line rather than the pipeline.

"I think last year the financial tsunami was a big wake-up call to a lot of people to change the business model to a more resilient one and this is only for the better," said Galaxy Entertainment vice-chairman Francis Lui Yiu-tung.

"All the explosive growth we saw a couple years ago is behind us. Macau in the future has to be more demand driven," he said.

"Hopefully, the start-up phase of the Macau gaming industry is behind us and we are moving on to a more mature phase of the cycle."

The boom-bust development has made it an interesting ride for Galaxy, the only one of Macau's six casino firms that did not have a gaming track record or experienced industry partner prior to opening its first casino in the city five years ago.

But rookie status did not stop the firm, which is controlled by the family of property and construction tycoon Lui Che-woo, from making fast inroads in the market. And, as with most of its competitors, the financial crisis forced the company to rewrite expansion plans in the city.

Galaxy last November slowed construction of its HK$10 billion Cotai mega-resort and delayed the opening until the end of next year at the earliest. Asked about a revised opening date, Mr Lui said: "We would still like to see more solid trends developing in the market before we pull the trigger."

The original plan was to open the property in stages - a 1,500-room Galaxy hotel and casino opening first followed by a 400-room Okura hotel and a 254-room Banyan Tree hotel. "But now that we have the time we would be able to open all three at the same time in order to create a bang," Mr Lui said.

In the meantime, Galaxy is riding out the current market doldrums by focusing on its bottom line. The firm in February implemented an effective 13.3 per cent pay cut for 2,400 gaming staff through an unpaid leave programme.

Earlier this year the company bought back around US$220 million in its own bonds at a 50 per cent discount to face value in an effort to pay down debt, strengthen its balance sheet and reduce interest payments. Those moves combined with other cost cutting measures will achieve HK$200 million or more in savings this year, according to chief financial officer Bob Drake.

Business volumes and profitability at the company's 500-room StarWorld casino hotel have improved in recent quarters after Galaxy won back market share lost to rivals last year amid a city-wide junket commission war.

"Last year, we saw that competing just on price was not going to get anybody anywhere," Mr Lui said, indicating the market has shown signs of stabilisation this year.

Still, competition in the peninsular Macau market is heating up again. From May, sections of the main mass-market gaming floor at the three-year-old StarWorld have been closed for renovations that should be completed early next month.

That would be just in time for the opening next door of L'Arc, a new casino hotel and residential development operating under the licence of SJM Holdings.

Still, the biggest component of Galaxy's Macau strategy is the Cotai resort. The firm had HK$4.7 billion cash on hand at the end of the first quarter with another HK$6 billion left to spend on the resort, mainly on interior fitting-out works.

While existing cash flows can help fund construction, most analysts expect the company will likely have to seek new debt or equity funding in order to complete the project. The company's liabilities were significantly reduced by the bond buyback programme, but it still faces substantial debt maturities at the end of next year and in 2012.

At the same time, the competitive dynamics of the Cotai neighbourhood continue to shift. Last month's opening of Melco Crown Entertainment's US$2.1 billion City of Dreams and its performance in coming months is being viewed by many as a bellwether for the future development of Cotai.

Given the amount of new hotel rooms that will sooner or later be operating on Cotai, Mr Lui sees a lack of adequate infrastructure to drive visitors to the resorts. He questions why Macau has moved so slowly to date on high-profile projects like the planned light rail transit network.

"We have brought in so much gaming tax for the government. It is really time for them to realise and execute their infrastructure plans," he said.
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Old July 8th, 2009, 01:39 PM   #48
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Las Vegas Sands Looking For $3.5B; Macau IPO An Option
8 July 2009

SINGAPORE (Dow Jones)--Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS) Chairman and Chief Executive Sheldon Adelson said Wednesday that his company is considering an initial public offering or sale of Macau assets to raise about $3.5 billion.

"An IPO is one of five possibilities we are aggressively, sincerely, actively looking at," Adelson said during a visit to Singapore, where the company is building a resort-casino complex. The IPO would be on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

"We are also talking to investors about putting up large amounts of equities, we are talking with banks about project financing and we are talking to construction companies about putting up equity and financing."

Adelson said the U.S. casino operator needs about $2 billion to finish five hotel projects in Macau, which were halted in the face of the global economic downturn.

The capital raising is expected to be in place in September, and the projects are expected to restart by the end of the year, he said.

Assets in Macau the company is considering for sale include condos and shopping malls.

Meanwhile, Adelson said that the resort-casino complex the company is developing in Singapore will open either in January or February.

The Marina Bay Sands project has been keenly watched by the market as the $5 billion resort is considered critical to the gaming operator's prospects. The project was originally scheduled to open in the fourth quarter of this year.

"We can't control the flow of sand to make concrete, the availability of steel or the availability of labor," Adelson said.

He added that the company could sell the retail operations at Marina Bay eventually, using the money to pay off the mortgage on the development.

"Our fundamental business is to sell non-core assets to pay for our financing, while other property competitors have to pay down their financing not by selling non-core assets, because they don't build them. They pay off through operations," Adelson said.

Las Vegas Sands and casino operators have been facing a tough environment, as the global recession has cut revenue. In addition, finding financing and buyers for assets is more difficult, making debt payments a burden.

Struggling with its debt obligations, Sands, best known for its Italian-themed Venetian resorts in Las Vegas and Macau, was forced to halt construction on some projects, lay off hundreds of employees and raise $2.1 billion through a stock offering in November.

On Wednesday, Adelson said business is improving in Las Vegas and Macau.

"We are in the trough of the cycle so things are looking up."

The company's casinos in Las Vegas have showed better-than-expected results so far this summer, Adelson said without providing numbers.

"Our projections for the summer, while slower than previous summers, are also somewhat ahead, and we are adjusting our internal forecasts almost every week."
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Old July 8th, 2009, 07:50 PM   #49
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Adelson says Sands may raise $3.5-$4 billion from Macau IPO, selling noncore assets
8 July 2009

SINGAPORE (AP) - Cash strapped casino operator Las Vegas Sands Corp. is considering an initial public offering of its Macau assets and the sale of peripheral businesses to raise $3.5 billion to $4.0 billion, chairman Sheldon Adelson said Wednesday.

The company -- hit by a funding crunch as the financial crisis unfolded -- needs about $2 billion to finish its latest Macau hotel and casino project, and hopes to have the financing in place by September, Adelson said.

"We're actively, aggressively, sincerely looking at an IPO," he said at a news conference in Singapore. "We're talking to investors about putting in large amounts of equity and we're also talking to banks about project financing."

Adelson said Las Vegas Sands is also looking into the sale of stores in the company's Venetian resort in Macau, as well as condos and retail in the neighboring Four Seasons property. The company also owns the Sands casino resort in Macau, and the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem in Pennsylvania.

However, an IPO may hold more promise because it would be easier to price equity in the company rather than some of its noncore assets, said Aaron Fischer, Hong Kong-based head of Asian property and gaming research for CLSA.

A share offering might also attract investors due to the improving economic environment, a potential loosening of visa restrictions for Chinese tourists and more infrastructure work after Macau's new leader takes office in December.

"I think there's an appetite for the IPO in Hong Kong," Fischer said. "If we look a little further out I think the Macau growth story will be back on track."

In Singapore to visit the company's $5.5 billion Marina Bay Sands casino and resort, Adelson said its opening will be delayed until early next year because of problems sourcing construction materials.

The Marina Bay Sands, one of two casinos being built in Singapore, is now expected to open in January or February, Adelson said Wednesday, instead of December as the company predicted earlier this year.

"We can't control the flow of sand to make concrete, the availability of steel or the availability of labor," he said at a news conference in Singapore.

The Singapore casino was one of the few projects Sands continued to work on after the company's liquidity dried up amid the credit crisis and tumbling revenues at its Las Vegas properties. Its funding crisis forced it to suspend work on the Macau project last November and lay off as many as 11,000 workers.

Adelson declined to say if the company was cutting its revenue forecast for the Marina Bay Sands because of the weak global economy. He added that U.S. consumer spending was "in the trough and heading back up."

"I intend to rain on the critics' parade on the economy," Adelson said. "What the economy is doing today doesn't say what the economy will be doing in January or February."

Singapore, facing its worst recession in decades, is hoping the casino will revive a tourism industry that's been hit by the global economic meltdown.

Adelson said the company's Venetian and Palazzo casinos in Las Vegas, where it last week laid off 194 workers, have had better-than-expected business so far this summer but didn't provide figures.

"Our results in June were significantly higher than what we expected," Adelson said. "Our projections for the summer, while slower than previous summers, are also somewhat ahead, and we're adjusting our internal forecasts almost every week."

------

AP Business Writer Jeremiah Marquez contributed to this report from Hong Kong.
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Old July 8th, 2009, 08:36 PM   #50
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By lon5297 from skyscrapers.cn :

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Old July 8th, 2009, 08:54 PM   #51
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Analyst lowers some estimates for Wynn Resorts on lackluster Macau gaming revenue results
8 July 2009

NEW YORK (AP) - An analyst lowered some of Wynn Resorts Ltd.'s estimates Wednesday, citing weaker-than-expected Macau gaming revenue results and soft business conditions.

Dennis Forst of KeyBanc Capital Markets said in a client note that Macau's June gaming revenue decline of 17 percent prompted him to reduce his second-quarter forecast for the Las Vegas-based casino operator to a loss of 7 cents per share from a profit of 3 cents per share.

He now anticipates a third-quarter loss of 7 cents per share and a fourth-quarter loss of 3 cents per share. Forst previously predicted earnings of 13 cents per share and 14 cents per share for the respective quarters.

The analyst expects a full-year loss of 42 cents per share. His prior forecast was for a 15 cents per share profit.

"While we believe that Wynn will be able to ride out this economic cycle, the stubborn recession will likely keep a lid on cash flows for several more quarters," Forst wrote in a client note.

He reiterated a "Hold" rating.

Shares of Wynn Resorts fell 15 cents to $30.60 in morning trading.
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Old July 8th, 2009, 09:08 PM   #52
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High-rollers fail to pitch at City of Dreams
4 July 2009
The Sydney Morning Herald

THE City of Dreams, James Packer's latest Macau casino, has disappointed the market in its first month of trading with its lack of VIP and mass-market gamblers and its lower than expected market share.

Melco Crown Entertainment, the joint-venture company between Mr Packer's Crown and Lawrence Ho's Melco, said yesterday that rolling chip volume was $US1.94 billion ($2.4 million) in June. Rolling chip turnover is a key measure of casino profitability. It measures the number and value of chips gambled by VIPs, who are the City of Dreams's most valued and desired customers.

Shares in Melco Crown, which trade on Nasdaq, fell 3 per cent on the news on Thursday US time to close at $US4.55.

Before it opened last month, Mr Ho conceded there was a lot riding on the success of the project. He told Bloomberg it was "crucial" that the casino defied the global recession and had a successful opening.

"We know the pressure is on us," Mr Ho said. "The success of it will have major implications."

The casino is opening in the midst of both the worst global slump since World War II and as the Chinese Government tightens restrictions on the number of visits its citizens can make.

The Chinese enclave's gaming revenues have been hampered by soft economic conditions, a tighter credit environment and travel restrictions.

Across the whole of Macau revenues in June were 17 per cent lower than a year ago. Revenues also fell in May, when they dropped by 10 per cent.

The City of Dreams figures released yesterday also implied the casino had only grabbed an estimated 7 per cent share of the Macau market, below initial expectations of at least 10 per cent, and analyst consensus expectations of 14 per cent.

However, having only traded for a month, it is still too early to tell whether it will be a success.

Melco Crown Entertainment also owns a second casino in Macau, the Altira, which has a market share of about 8 per cent. Together the two casinos have about 15 per cent of the market.

Analysts are expecting the City of Dreams to post pretax earnings of $US300 million in the first year, less than the $US500 million a year its neighbouring casino, the Venetian, has been generating.

Yesterday the company emphasised that the trend of chip turnover throughout the month across its 127 VIP tables was positive and volumes were improving, with the casino taking 38 per cent of revenues in VIP tables in the final week of June.

The casino also makes money from gamblers who bet smaller amounts than high rollers.

These gamblers dropped about $US100 million on the City of Dreams's 376 mass market tables in June, which equates to about $1400 to $1600 daily net win per table. This is below the industry average of $US3000 per table.
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Old July 8th, 2009, 09:12 PM   #53
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Melco's Macau casino draws $1.94 bln bets in first mth

HONG KONG, July 3 (Reuters) - Casino operator Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd generated about $1.94 billion in total rolling chip volume in June, with 1.2 million players visiting its new Macau resort City of Dreams, said parent company Melco International Development Ltd .

Visitors averaged 41,000 per day, while the average number of rolling chip or VIP gaming tables in operation stood at 127.

The casino resort recorded a mass-market table drop of about $100 million in the month, with the weekly total rising by 12 percent in the last week of June compared with the first, and an average of 376 mass-market gaming tables in operation.

Gaming machines generated about $81 million, with about 1,320 gaming machines in operation on average, the Hong Kong-listed company said in a statement.

Shares of Hong Kong-listed Melco International fell more than 5 percent to HK$3.96 in late morning trade. Credit Suisse earlier cut its rating on the stock, as well as on its 34.06 percent owned Melco Crown to "underperform" from "neutral" following the weaker-than-expected debut of its new casino in Macau.

Melco Crown's City of Dreams only won 0.8 percent of the bets in the first month, compared with an expected win rate of 2.85 percent.

"Even having adjusted for the high-roller win percentage, City of Dreams' market share in June would have been 6.9 percent, still below A street expectation of 8-10 percent," Credit Suisse analyst Gabriel Chan said, cutting the target price on the stock to HK$3.40 from HK$6.
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Old July 9th, 2009, 03:09 PM   #54
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Macao, Guangdong push forward cross-border university campus project

MACAO, July 9 (Xinhua) -- Governments of Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) and China's Guangdong province Thursday signed an cooperation agreement on the construction of University of Macao's (UM) new campus on Guangdong's Hengqing Island.

According to the new agreement, the two sides will give full policy support to launching the UM Hengqin campus project and facilitate its works under the Guangdong-Macao cooperation system.

Headed by Huang Huahua, governor of Guangdong province, an official delegation from Guangdong arrived in Macao yesterday and they held a meeting on the two sides' cooperation on various fields with their counterparts on Thursday. Representing each side, Wan Qingliang, Guangdong's vice governor, and Lau Si Io, the SAR's secretary for transport and public works, signed the agreement after the meeting.

The two sides also agreed that the professionals, workers and construction companies in Macao can participate in the project through proper coordination and measures, according to a press release from the SAR government.

China's central government has authorized the Macao SAR to exercise jurisdiction over the new UM campus on Hengqin Island, the whole of which is separated from Macao by the Pearl River Estuary, and is under the jurisdiction of Guangdong's coastal city Zhuhai.

UM's new campus, covering an area of just over one square kilometer, will be located on the eastern part of Hengqin Island, the site of which is just across a narrow water channel from Macao, according to the information from the UM. A tunnel will also be built under the channel to enable 24-hour commuting between the campus and Macao. UM's faculty, students, staff, visitors and the Macao residents will be able to access the campus through the tunnel without going through any border control.

The new campus will be 20 times larger than UM's current one in Macao, with a minimum accommodation capacity of 10,000 students, according to the UM.
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Old July 9th, 2009, 07:44 PM   #55
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MGM

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Old July 10th, 2009, 05:44 AM   #56
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China move for Macau university
The Standard
Friday, July 10, 2009

The University of Macau is to be extended to Heng Qin Island.
The deal is one of a number of collaborations agreed yesterday between Guangdong mayor Huang Huahua and Macau chief executive Edmund Ho Hau- wah.

It was also agreed to speed up cooperation on infrastructure, education and the fight against pandemics, as well as the development of Chinese medicine.

Huang visited the university and the airport during his stay in Macau.

Meanwhile, Civic Exchange has proposed a regional Greenprint along with a masterplan of the Pearl River Region in response to the Outline of the Plan for the Reform and Development of the PRD released by the central government earlier this year.

The think-tank proposes a cross-Pearl River Delta Green Shipping zone with a uniform set of conditions with regard to logistics, port operations, ships in territorial waters, local craft and trucks.

"Ports in the PRD are usually near to where the people live and the emission of ships is heavy," Civic Exchange chief executive officer Christine Loh Kung- wai said.

She cited the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy in Seattle and Vancouver as an example of the introduction of strict cross-border regulations. It also proposed a new body and a regional air quality standard to reduce smog.
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Old July 10th, 2009, 09:37 PM   #57
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Macau Prop Opp Fund Q2 Property Transaction Volumes Increase
10 July 2009

LONDON (Dow Jones)--Macau Property Opportunities Fund Limited (MPO.LN), said Friday that in the second quarter of 2009 it experienced an increase in property transaction volumes from extremely subdued levels, triggering a strong rebound in property values sending a clear signal that buyers are re-entering the market.

MAIN FACTS:

-Responding to the improved conditions, MPO's share price made a good recovery from its February low of 51 pence, with average daily trading volumes surging to 328,000 shares per day during 2Q, as against 52,000 per day during 1Q.

-Sniper Investments (SI), an investment vehicle connected to the Manager, has sustained its accumulation of MPO shares, buying a further 1,012,500 shares during the period. As at Jun. 30, SI had a total holding of 4,175,000 shares, representing 3.98% of the company's issued share capital - the fifth largest shareholding in MPO.

-The company believes the current share price does not fully reflect the exceptional quality and positioning of MPO's property portfolio and the significant growth potential for Macau.

-Company continues to heighten awareness of MPO amongst investors and seek creative solutions to continue to narrow the share price discount to Adjusted Net Asset Value.

-Planning for MPO's two other developments is progressing on schedule, with current efforts focused on finalising designs and maximising gross floor area. Macau remains in ongoing discussions with a number of banks with a view to securing construction financing.

-One Central is Macau's premier mixed-use development, comprising seven luxury residential towers, a world-class shopping centre and a Mandarin Oriental Hotel.

-The internal fit-out of Tower 6 is now almost complete, with the Occupation Permit expected to be granted by August and the handover finalised by the end of 3Q.

-The company's asset management and leasing strategy for Tower 6, which positions the property as one of the premier residential addresses in Macau, is geared for implementation as soon as handover occurs.

-In June, mounting speculation that Tower 4 was for sale by its owners, an Icelandic insurance company, was finally quashed when the joint developers of One Central - Shun Tak Holdings and Hongkong Land - announced that the Sale & Purchase Agreement relating to all 68 units in Tower 4 had been cancelled.

-Macau is now in the final stages of planning for Rua da Penha, its luxury residential project located in one of Macau's historically significant areas. The important Heritage approval has been received for its design and final Government approval is expected during 3Q, with redevelopment expected to commence soon afterwards.

-Fernando Chui Sai On will become Macau's second Chief Executive.

-Macau's gaming market has recorded a quarter-on-quarter increase in revenues of 8% in 1Q, 2009 compared with only a 1% growth recorded by the State of Nevada, U.S.A.

-Gaming revenues for the period March to May were also ahead of expectations.

-Transaction volumes and values in Macau's property market picking up since March. Transaction volumes and values in May reached 1,168 and $179 million respectively - a 276% and 246% respective growth compared to January.

-Looking ahead, MPO's efforts will be focused on progressing its development projects and on implementing value-enhancing asset management strategies.

-Macau is confident it has a strong platform from which to make continued positive progress.
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Old July 12th, 2009, 06:40 PM   #58
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A-Power unit signs MoU to build gas terminals, shrs up

BANGALORE, July 10 (Reuters) - A-Power Energy Generation Systems Ltd said its unit, the Shenyang Power Group, signed a memorandum of understanding with the Macau Natural Gas Co to construct a $1.5 billion offshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) complex, sending its shares up almost 26 percent.

Shares of the company, which provides distributed power generation systems in China, rose to a high of $8.99 in early trade, before paring some gains to trade up 17 percent at $8.40 later in the day. The stock was the third highest percentage gainer on Nasdaq.

"The contract is a big positive. It is by far the largest contract that A-Power has ever had," Raymond James analyst Pavel Molchanov told Reuters.

It is a sign of confidence in A-Power's ability to pull off a project of this magnitude, Molchanov said, adding that the economics should be "very significant" in the long run.

The analyst, however, pointed out that margins tend to be somewhat lower as a percentage on very big projects, but also said that as the company had not yet got the contract, margins would be up for negotiation.

"Assuming the final contract is agreed upon, revenue would begin to be generated over the process of construction. In general, on these sort of projects, revenue is recognized on a percentage-of-construction basis," the analyst said.

In a statement, A-Power said with government backing, it was hopeful that the final terms of the contract will be set out later this year and the construction phase could start sometime next year, adding that the terminals could take about two years to build.

The capacity of the LNG facilities is expected to be 3 million tons per year starting 2013, and 5 million tons per year in 2015, A-Power said.

An artificial island to be formed by land reclamation adjacent to Macau will be the site for the project.

The Shenyang, China-based company also said after the construction of the LNG terminals, a 2,400 megawatt natural gas power plant will be built at the same location.

The analyst added that while it was hard to say exactly how much the 2,400 MW power-plant contract would be for, it could be in the billion-dollar range.
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Old July 17th, 2009, 05:37 PM   #59
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US Casino Tycoon Says Asia Dreams Still Intact
13 July 2009

SINGAPORE (AFP)--It has been a challenging year for Sheldon Adelson, but the 75-year-old U.S. casino tycoon is confident he has enough aces up his sleeve to revive stalled projects in Asia.

The construction of new casinos in Macau and Singapore has been delayed after the global financial crisis hit both economies hard, and Adelson's company, Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS), ran into funding problems.

Once ranked the third-wealthiest American by Forbes Magazine - before the meltdown wiped out a substantial chunk of his fortune - he was forced to inject $1 billion of his own money into Las Vegas Sands.

But the self-made billionaire says the experience accumulated since he first went into business - as a 12-year-old - will help him put his gaming empire back on a winning streak. Industry analysts are giving him decent odds.

"I intend to rain on critics' parade," Adelson said, referring to bleak economic forecasts, at a Singapore news conference last week.

"If we are in the down portion now, we can look forward to going back (up)," he said, describing himself as a "gut variety, plain vanilla entrepreneur."

Adelson has invested heavily in Asia in recent years, mainly in the southern Chinese territory of Macau, where a pre-crisis gaming boom saw the former Portuguese colony overtake Las Vegas in terms of overall revenue.

One industry analyst said Adelson might have taken huge risks in pursuing his Asian expansion, but it could pay off eventually.

"There is no question that the company has for quite some time taken a very strategically aggressive approach to the Asian marketplace," said Jonathan Galaviz, a partner with Nevada-based consultancy Globalysis.

"Yet at the same time, one has to have respect for that, because the Asian marketplace is going to be the growth place for the next 10 to 20 years."

The Asian Development Bank says the region's economic slowdown appears to have touched bottom, and it is likely to be the first to climb out of the global slump, although some analysts warn that threats to sustainable growth persist.

Adelson said he was aiming to restart the stalled projects in Macau later this year, once Las Vegas Sands completes a fund-raising exercise for $3.5 billion.

A sale or public listing of the Macau assets are among the options being explored to raise the money, including $2 billion needed to complete the projects in the Chinese territory, he said.

"We are shooting for a restart of the Macau project before the end of this year," said Adelson, chairman of Las Vegas Sands.

The delayed projects are part of the company's ambitious building plan in Macau on a reclaimed strip of land known as Cotai Strip.

Squeezed by the global credit crunch, Las Vegas Sands announced in November that work on sites five and six on the Cotai Strip would be temporarily stopped until financial market conditions improved.

Sites five and six include a 1,800-room Sheraton hotel and three casinos.

The Vegas firm was also forced to fire up to 11,000 mainly construction staff as work ground to a halt on the projects.

Like in Macau, Adelson's Singapore project has also run into delays and cost overruns due to shortages of materials and labor - issues that are beyond his control, he said.

A $5.5 billion casino and convention complex, Marina Bay Sands, is now targeted to open in either January or February 2010, instead of the end of 2009 as originally planned.

"So this is not a long delay. It's a relatively short delay and the whole purpose of it is because it's impossible to finish every square meter simultaneously," Adelson said.

"It's not as though you are a conductor of a philharmonic and you just take your wand...and you tell everybody get finished on time exactly to the minute."

Given the gaming sector's huge potential, particularly in Macau, the region is a key market in the long term for casino operators, analysts said.

"Macau is an important market for gaming operators due to its size. It is a much larger market compared with the U.S.," said Joe Poon, a Hong Kong-based associate with Standard and Poor's Rating Services.
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Old July 21st, 2009, 05:24 AM   #60
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Macau hotel occupancy dives to 59.4pc, lowest since 2003
14 July 2009
SCMP

Hotel occupancy in Macau plunged in May to the lowest levels since the 2003 outbreak of Sars, affected by the outbreak of swine flu and a crackdown on "zero-fee" package tours by the mainland government.

Average hotel occupancy across the city was 59.4 per cent in May, down from 72.9 per cent a year earlier and far below the average of 73.3 per cent in the 12 months to April, according to data released yesterday by the statistics and census service.

"This is a negative factor for the major casinos, because they are all carrying a lot of room inventory that they cannot translate into revenue," said an analyst at a European bank.

"I would expect to see more competition on room rates in the coming months as a result of the drop in occupancy."

May's figures were not as severe as the bleak 32.7 per cent occupancy rates seen in Macau at the height of Sars, but they represent the casino enclave's weakest showing since June 2003.

The fall-off was spread across the hospitality sector: Three- to five-star hotels reported occupancy rates of 59.3 to 61.7 per cent during May, compared with average rates of 72.9 to 79.5 per cent in the 12 months to April.

Occupancy rates at two-star hotels dropped to a dismal 38.5 per cent in May from an average 60.7 per cent in the 12 months to April. The more substantial decline in occupancy at budget hotels was likely exacerbated by recent government efforts targeting mainland tour operators offering customers zero-fee tours.

May's figures also show the initial impact of fears of swine flu, which ramped up dramatically after Hong Kong reported its first confirmed case on May 1.

Changes in room inventory were a non-factor during the period. At 17,529 units in May, the number of hotel rooms in operation has remained essentially unchanged in the five months since the grand opening of the 430-room hotel tower at SJM Holdings' Grand Lisboa in December last year.

Macau's decline in hotel occupancy tracks a fall in tourist arrivals for the month. Visitor arrivals fell to 1.59 million in May, down 20.35 per cent from a year earlier and 14.77 per cent from the previous month despite dual holidays.

Arrivals in package tours fell further still, plunging 42.5 per cent in May from a year earlier to 244,654 visitors. The figures were a sharp contrast to the first five months of the year, when package tour arrivals rose marginally by 0.9 per cent over the same period last year.

The decline in visitation and hotel occupancy weighed on casino revenue carrying into last month. At 8.25 billion patacas for the month, it was down 17.3 per cent from a year earlier and 6.2 per cent from May's 8.8 billion patacas, according to preliminary data reported by Portuguese news agency Lusa.

"Considering that visitor arrivals were impacted by the lingering effects of swine flu and tighter visa restrictions [on the mainland, the June casino revenue figure still represented] a solid showing by Macau," Citigroup said in a research note.
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