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Old December 16th, 2009, 05:03 PM   #101
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Plenty of liquidity
16 December 2009
SCMP







Renderings from : http://www.paul-andreu.com/pages/pro..._macao_gb.html

If water is a symbol of money, Casino Oceanus can expect to be swimming in it.

The unexpected heavy rain in Macau yesterday forced the inauguration ceremony of the city's 34th casino to be held inside the multicoloured building that has been covered in the same material as Beijing's famous Olympic "Water Cube".

The rain not only captured the aquatic theme but also gave the guests plenty of reason to stay inside the latest casino belonging to Stanley Ho Hung-sun's SJM Holdings.

If that's not enough, the former New Yaohan department store building is right next to the Macau ferry terminal.
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Old December 22nd, 2009, 06:33 PM   #102
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Sands can complete Macau casinos in 5 years
Reuters
By Kevin Lim and Sui-Lee Wee Kevin Lim And Sui-lee Wee
Mon Dec 21, 5:01 am ET

SINGAPORE/HONG KONG (Reuters) – Las Vegas Sands (LVS.N), the world's No. 2 casino operator by market value, could completed all its planned developments on Macau's Cotai strip in five years, sooner than expected, hugely expanding its presence in the world's biggest gambling market.

Billionaire Sheldon Adelson, the founder and CEO of Sands, said business in Las Vegas was recovering and could return to normal levels by 2011. He brushed off suggestions its Singapore casino project could be delayed by months.

Sands -- which last month raised $2.5 billion from listing its Macau unit, Sands China -- plans to build five properties on the Cotai strip, a swathe of reclaimed land some Macau developers have touted as the next Las Vegas strip.

Those properties, including two that are half built, would complement the firm's two existing casinos in Macau, one of which is the Venetian Macau, the world's largest.

"We could finish all the (Macau) properties easily within five years," Adelson said at a news conference in Singapore. "It depends on how fast we get approvals from the government."

Sands suspended construction of its Cotai projects due to the global financial crisis but has since resumed work.

Aaron Fischer, CLSA's head of Asian consumer and gaming, said he was surprised by Adelson's bullish forecast. "It's quite aggressive," he said. "Five years is a bit earlier than I thought, but it's a good thing."

Shares in Sands China (1928.HK) fell as much as 6 percent on Monday as some analysts fretted how much the firm may borrow to grow its business.

"In term of debt structure, Wynn Macau (1128.HK) is a better choice than Sands China," said William Lo, an analyst at Ample Finance Group in Hong Kong.

Sands, valued at $10 billion, competes in Macau with Wynn Macau, Galaxy Entertainment Group (0027.HK), SJM Holdings (0880.HK), Melco Crown Entertainment (MPEL.O) and MGM Mirage (MGM.N).

The typically upbeat Adelson said Sands expects to open phase one of the two half-completed projects, sites five and six, on the Cotai strip by June 2011. The Las Vegas firm will inject another $500 million into the project using funds raised from the Sands China IPO.

When fully developed, the Cotai strip will house more than 20,000 hotel rooms, over 1.6 million square feet of meetings and convention space, and over 2 million square feet of retail malls.

SINGAPORE DELAY

Adelson rejected local media reports that the Singapore casino's opening slated for end-March could be delayed until June. "If everything goes OK, we'll open in the early days of April," he said.

Sands originally planned to open the first phase of its $5.5 billion Marina Bay Sands casino-resort on the edge of Singapore's central business district this year, but the opening date was later revised to end-March due to a shortage of sand and labor.

The firm has suffered massive cost overruns on its Singapore project, which was originally budgeted at around $3.2 billion.

Adelson said Singapore's two upcoming casinos could compete with Macau for the same high-rollers, but not in the mass market given the geographical distance between the two cities.

Singapore's other casino, Genting Singapore's (GENS.SI) Resorts World at Sentosa, looks set to open before the start of the Chinese New Year on February 14, overtaking Sands in the race to become the city-state's first casino operator.

Genting Singapore, a unit of Malaysia's Genting Bhd (GENT.KL), hosted a charity concert over the weekend, giving guests a glimpse of its almost-completed facilities, which include a Universal Studios theme park.
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Old December 30th, 2009, 07:59 AM   #103
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Beijing at a loss about casino industry in Macau
WATARU YOSHIDA, Staff writer
28 December 2009
Nikkei Weekly

MACAU - This city marked the 10th anniversary on Dec. 20 of its reversion to China from Portugal. However, Beijing has yet to draw a clear picture of the former Portuguese colony's future, and is still wondering how to develop the entertainment industry, primarily gambling/show casinos in luxury hotels in the Las Vegas style, while cooling off the overheated casino industry.

Regarding Macau as the entertainment industry's hub, China has supported the region by allowing Chinese tourists to flock there from the mainland. With the casinos' prosperity far surpassing initial expectations, Macau is turning out to be a cause for concern for the central government by fomenting social problems such as corruption.

A ceremony to celebrate the 10th anniversary was attended by Chinese President Hu Jintao. After hailing the remarkable growth of the Macau economy over the past decade, Hu stressed in his speech that the "one country, two systems" approach would be further promoted. On the occasion, Chui Sai On was sworn in as the new chief executive of the Macao Special Administrative Region.

Macau is one of China's two special administrative regions - the other is Hong Kong - where free market economic activities are allowed under the "one country, two systems" formula adopted by Beijing for the reversion of both former colonies. In the special regions, China has been continuing its experiments with a free market economy, seeing Hong Kong as the financial center and Macau as the base to nurture the entertainment industry.

In 2003, Beijing lifted a ban on the personal travel of mainland Chinese to Macau, giving a major boost to the casino sector. Banking on spending splurges by mainland tourists, the U.S. casino operators have rushed to open their facilities in Macau since 2004. Partly due to their business model of giving Las Vegas-style glamorous shows, the Macau casino industry has grown into the world's biggest in terms of sales.

The region's casinos combined earned 110 billion patacas ($13.7 billion) in 2008, nearly five times the level in 2002, sharply boosting the region's gross domestic product. Casinos are virtually prohibited on the mainland, spurring avid gamblers to travel to Macau to visit the many casinos there. An estimated 80% of casino customers are currently mainland Chinese visitors.

Overheated casinos

The casino promotion policy, which was driven both by the Chinese central and the regional governments, faces a turning point, however, as the Chinese authorities have turned to calm down the overheated casino industry in the region.

Four unfinished and deserted building towers in a city of luxury hotels and casinos reflect the shifting approach as well. The Las Vegas Sands Corp., the U.S. major casino resort operator that runs the Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel, halted the construction of luxury hotels in November 2008. Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. of Hong Kong has also postponed the opening of a new hotel.

The government of neighboring Guangdong Province has restricted the issuance of visas for its residents to go to Macau since May 2008. Meanwhile, the Macau government has announced a plan to restrict the expansion of casino facilities in accordance with Beijing's intentions.

Behind the tighter regulation on entertainment lies growing concern of the Chinese government about an intensifying casino fever. Not a few regional governments' officials have been found having received bribery to get money for gambling in casinos while rumors never stop that North Korea continues to use casinos in Macau for money laundering.

The sudden tightening of regulatory stance toward casinos appears to indicate the Chinese government's bewilderment as to how much free had it should give to the entertainment industry. The future growth of Macau hinges on the intention of the Chinese government. Yet to clearly envision the future of the gambling industry, however, the central government will likely continue a trial-and-error process in Macau.
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Old January 7th, 2010, 03:56 PM   #104
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Cotai work to lift luxury home prices
6 January 2010
SCMP

Macau luxury properties could play catch-up with price rises elsewhere in the region in the New Year, driven by a confidence-boosting resumption of work on its Cotai mega-resort and a fresh influx of expatriate construction and casino staff.

"The top end of the property market in Macau has lagged the recovery in Hong Kong and could be in line for about 30 per cent growth in prices this year to an average of HK$9,000 per square foot from the current HK$7,000," said Ronald Cheung Yat-fai, the chief executive of Midland Realty (Macau).

"The economy here will certainly get a big boost if Las Vegas Sands resumes work on its resort development on the Cotai Strip, and the property market will benefit."

Cheung is referring to Sands China's widely expected resumption of construction work in the first half this year on its 6,000-room Cotai mega-resort across the street from its 3,000-room Venetian Macao. Sands China is the Hong Kong-listed arm of New York-listed parent Las Vegas Sands Corp.

In a move that hammered the group's New York share price and sentiment in Macau, work on the resort was suspended in November 2008 to help preserve cash and raise money for projects under way in Singapore and Pennsylvania.

To date, prices of top-end properties in the gambling enclave have not yet fully recovered from the blow. But estate agents say the resumption of work on the latest mega-resort in the gambling enclave, along with the start of construction last month on the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge - which will halve travelling time between Hong Kong and Macau to 30 minutes - will entice investors back into the market.

Signs of a revival are already evident, according to Cheung.

Units on upper floors of Macau's prestigious housing project, One Central Residences that offers sea views, are selling for HK$6,500 to HK$6,800 per sq ft, from a low of HK$3,700 in January last year after the added blow to confidence caused by the global financial crisis.

But compared with the average price of HK$20,000 per sq ft fetched by Hong Kong luxury flats, there remained ample room for further price gains, said Cheung.

He said luxury home prices in the enclave remained 30 per cent below their HK$10,000 per sq ft peak reached in 2007.

Patrick Wong, the chief executive of Tenacity Real Estate Group, which owns an office-retail project at 39 Avenida Alemida Riberio in the core business district of Macau, said: "Lots of banks are looking for office space for expansion and this is signalling that Macau's economy is improving."

Ma Iao Iao, the chairman of San Kin Wa Construction and Investment, a major developer in Macau, is also bullish about the market's prospect.

The firm plans to release the remaining units in its Bay View residential development, about 10 minutes' walk from the Macau ferry pier, for pre-sale early this year.

Ma believes Hong Kong buying interest will return to bet on the capital appreciation as the construction of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge has started. The link will greatly improve Macau's accessibility when the bridge is completed by 2016.

He hopes the upcoming sale of Bay View, a medium-priced residential development due to be completed in June, will achieve a price of HK$3,000 per sq ft, about 7 per cent higher than current secondary market deals.

Gregory Ku, the managing director of Jones Lang LaSalle Macau, expects the market will continue to be dominated by domestic demand. He sees steady growth in deal volumes in the mass residential market driven by upgrader demand as salaries rise.

Ku first invested in Macau property in late 2004 when he bought a unit in the Kingsville development for HK$3 million. He resold that for a 30 per cent profit and bought another unit for HK$4 million in 2005 that he sold for HK$5 million in the same year.

But other estate agents say Macau mass-market prices have already rallied significantly, in particular units worth HK$1 million to HK$2 million each, mainly because of the government introducing mortgage subsidy and loan guarantee schemes.

Under the scheme introduced in the second quarter of last year, Macau permanent residents aged at least 21 years old who had not bought a property in the past three years qualified for a 4 per cent home loan interest rate subsidy scheme.

That helped fuel a 40 per cent rise in prices of mass- to medium-level housing, said the agents, who expect prices to remain broadly unchanged from present levels this year.
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Old January 8th, 2010, 12:42 PM   #105
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Hu oversees 'opening' of long-delayed centre
20 December 2009
South China Morning Post





A futuristic new Macau landmark partially designed by architect I.M. Pei will open early next year.

President Hu Jintao yesterday officiated at a ceremony purported to be the opening of the Science Centre. But the complex, which took nine years and more than 300 million patacas to design and build, has not opened to the public.

A tilted cone, a dome and a low three-dimensional rhomboid distinguish the complex from a jungle of glittering casino buildings. I.M. Pei was involved in the project's early conceptual stage, said his son, Sandi Pei Li-chung, a partner in New York-based Pei Partnership Architects. The firm was responsible for designing most of the complex.

"He was involved in affirming the basic geometries of the project, mostly on the external form and materials," Sandi Pei said of his father.

The centre is on a 44,500 square metre parcel of reclaimed land off the southeastern shore of the Macau Peninsula, across from the Cultural Centre. Much of the complex is covered in shimmering metal, giving it a distinctive presence. It features 6,500 square metres of exhibition galleries around a skylit central atrium within an asymmetrical conical form.

There is a 150-seat planetarium, a 500-seat hall in the low 3-D rhomboid and a ground-floor children's zone with natural light.

An external viewing platform accessible by escalators takes full advantage of the complex's prime waterfront location. Visitors can enjoy a view of the water and the city from the 26-metre-high platform.

The complex has 23,000 square metres of gross floor area.

Sandi Pei said the conical form would offer an exciting spatial experience to visitors, and the museum would promote scientific knowledge among the public. Galleries are organised as trays reached by a spiral ramp that ascends within the cone.

"It can prevent people from having 'museum fatigue'," he said.

The designing began in February 2001 when little of what is now Macau's skyline existed.

"Macau today is a riot of new buildings," Sandi Pei said. "That all happened since we began work on the Science Centre."

Groundbreaking started in October 2006, shortly before the Ao Man-long corruption scandal broke. Ao, the former public works minister, took bribes from Tong Lei Engineering and Construction over the tendering of the right to build the centre.

Graft investigations forced work on the centre to be suspended in 2007 and last year.
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Old January 21st, 2010, 03:58 PM   #106
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FOCUS: Macau Casinos Give Property Market New Lease On Life
20 January 2010

HONG KONG (Dow Jones)--Macau's property market, hobbled by the global financial crisis and a major corruption scandal, is getting new legs as the enclave's casino industry is back on a roll.

As Las Vegas Sands (LVS) restarts development on the world's biggest casino resort on the Cotai area, real estate demand is rising. However, the headiness seen a few years ago isn't likely to return anytime soon.

"Over the next two years, Macau will experience a significant population increase and there is a strong possibility that the property market will increase across the board," said Jonathan Nichols, director of agency services for CB Richard Ellis' Macau office.

The commercial real estate services firm projects the population will surge 10% per year.

Nichols said although the residential market is leading the way in Macau, he is fielding more inquiries about office space on the former Portuguese colony from companies that provide products and services to the casinos.

Las Vegas Sands said earlier it would resume construction this month on two parcels of land across its massive Venetian resort, generating thousands of new construction jobs. Both Las Vegas Sands and rival Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. (0027.HK) had earlier delayed their large projects on Cotai amid a crippling credit crunch and the global economic slowdown.

The resumption of these projects "means more people will have to come back to Macau to work and the casinos will start to recruit hotel executives," said Gregory Ku, managing director at surveyor Jones Lang LaSalle's Macau office.

Improved transportation and infrastructure projects will also help foster a resurgence in the Macau property market. New developments include the construction of a mega-bridge linking Hong Kong with neighboring Macau and Zhuhai, Guangdong province.

Home to half a million people on just under 30 square kilometers of land, Macau saw its real estate market soar between 2006 and the beginning of 2008. Foreign investors and private equity funds made huge investments on luxury apartment developments on expectations the casino industry would attract many new residents.

The average residential price peaked in the fourth quarter of 2007 at 24,567 patacas (US$3,078) per square meter. By the end of the third quarter 2009, average prices rose back to MOP24,154 from about MOP17,000 earlier in the year, as a government home subsidy program fueled demand, according to data from CB Richard Ellis.

The number of residential sales, however, was down 63% through the end of the third quarter 2009 from the market's 2007 peak. Macau's real estate market is lagging a sharp recovery in Hong Kong where residential prices rose 27% in 2009 from a year earlier.

"What drove Macau prices significantly higher in 2006 and 2007 was speculative demand in the financial services community," said Anil Daswani, global head of gaming for Citigroup. "It's going to take a little longer to return to those frothy highs. This (cycle) now is more demand driven."

Nonetheless, residential prices are expected to rise at least 10% this year overall, property experts say.

Macau's slump was exacerbated by the conviction in 2008 of Ao Man-long, the former secretary for transportation and public works. He was sentenced to 27 years imprisonment for taking bribes and kickbacks on construction contracts.

The scandal compelled the government to investigate all its land approvals, complicating efforts by developers to secure financing for their projects.

"Many are still being delayed," said Jones Lang's Ku. He noted hope that Macau's new chief executive Fernando Chui will speed up the approval process.

One important harbinger is One Central, a blue-tinted shimmering, mixed-use building that opened on Macau's peninsula in December. The sprawling complex, which is co-developed by Pansy Ho, daughter of casino kingpin Stanley Ho, contains apartments and retail space that connects to the MGM Grand Macau.

Some 98% of the units have been sold, mostly to buyers looking for investment properties. The fetching price for a unit at One Central is HK$6,000 to HK$6,500 per square foot, down from the market's peak of HK$7,500, said Ku, adding that he expects the price to rise to HK$7,000 this year.
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Old February 3rd, 2010, 07:06 PM   #107
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Tourism rebound buoys occupancy at Ponte 16
The Standard
Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Occupancy at the Ponte 16 Resort Hotel in Macau improved last month as tourism rebounded.

Operating conditions of the Inner Harbour hotel also improved, according to Ambrose So Shu-fai, chairman of the entertainment resort jointly run by SJM Holdings (0880) and Successuniverse (0487).

So is expecting even more tourists - for the Lunar New Year and for what is claimed to be the world's only Michael Jackson memorabilia exhibition. The items are showcased at a gallery launched yesterday.

So hopes the MJ Gallery will become a new scenic spot in Macau and draw more tourists to both the city and Hong Kong. The gallery has over 40 exhibits. Ponte 16 is planning to buy more items associated with the late popstar.

Meanwhile, So said phases one and two of Grand Lisboa Hotel have been operating for a while. Shareholders are negotiating the details of an uncompleted plan for building phase three. So hopes the plan can be finalized as soon as possible.
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Old February 6th, 2010, 06:26 AM   #108
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Melco Crown's City of Dreams in need of white knight
4 February 2010

HONG KONG, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Eight months after its launch, Melco Crown Entertainment 's City of Dreams mega-casino is still searching for daylight, sparking buzz that ownership changes may be needed to revive the $2.1 billion Macau resort.

Talk has been heating up that Melco Crown, a joint venture between Hong Kong-listed Melco International Development Ltd and Australia's Crown Ltd , could be gearing up for a makeover as its flagship property struggles with lackluster results.

Investors got a rare piece of good news this week as January gambling revenues came in better than expected due to reduced junket commission rates. But even so, analysts remain cautious about whether a quick turnaround is on the way.

"We can't give the full benefit of the doubt to Melco Crown that the turnaround is sustainable," said Gabriel Chan, a Credit Suisse gambling analyst. "We want to wait for more clarification from the company on revenues in the next few months."

In its quarterly report issued on Tuesday, Melco Crown gave an encouraging outlook for January due to improving visitor volumes, even as its net loss widened to $89.7 million in the fourth quarter from $18.9 million a year earlier.

The glimmer of good news was quickly overshadowed on Wednesday when Moody's downgraded its outlook on Melco Crown to negative from stable, affecting $1.75 billion in debt.

With the clock ticking on Melco Crown to engineer a sustainable turnaround, talk is swirling that the company may need a strategic investor with more casino-operating experience to get the wheels spinning back toward the black.

Some have said Australian billionaire James Packer, Crown's chairman and son of late media tycoon Kerry Packer, may be losing patience with the venture and looking to sell his 35 percent stake.

Crown's investor relations head, Anthony Klok, said his company remains committed to the venture. An Australian-based banker close to Packer said he was unaware of any process under way, adding it was unlikely Packer would exit the venture.

Melco Crown shares have underperformed rivals SJM Holdings and Galaxy Entertainment Group , falling 37 percent since it opened the City of Dreams in June on Macau's Cotai Strip, a dusty stretch of reclaimed land developers are promoting as Asia's answer to Las Vegas' neon alley.

WHITE KNIGHTS

The problems dogging City of Dreams have led many to speculate, both publicly and privately, that an experienced outside gambling operator is needed to fix the resort.

Two names cited most often are U.S.-based Harrah's Entertainment [HAMLEH.UL], the world's largest casino operator, and Malaysia's Genting Bhd .

"Harrah's and Genting want to get into Macau," said Aaron Fischer, CLSA's head of Asia gaming research. "But I'd still be surprised if Crown exits Macau. Macau is the fastest-growing gaming market globally."

Boutique U.S. brokerage Sterne Agee made headlines in Australia last week when it cited unnamed contacts saying Macau's chief executive, Fernando Chui, has asked lawyers to review a potential transfer of Crown's stake in Melco Crown to Harrah's.

Melco CEO Lawrence Ho, son of Macau gambling tycoon Stanley Ho, dismissed the Sterne Agee report as "total nonsense," according to the Sydney Morning Herald, citing an analyst call.

Harrah's, owned by private equity firms TPG Capital [TPG.UL] and Apollo Global Management, is the last major U.S. casino operator without a presence in Macau, the world's largest gambling market, which generated record gambling revenues in January to 14 billion patacas ($1.8 billion).

It has long expressed interest in entering Macau, but has been effectively locked out by the government's tight rein on the number of gambling concessions.

"We'd like to do that, but there are not many options to do it," said Michael Chen, Harrah's president for Asia, referring to the firm's interest in Macau. He declined to comment on any particular interest in Melco Crown.
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Old February 15th, 2010, 05:07 PM   #109
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Dairy Queen to open in first restaurants in Macau and Egypt in 2010
9 February 2010

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Ice-cream and burger chain International Dairy Queen Inc. said Tuesday it will open its first stores in Macau and Egypt in 2010.

Dairy Queen is owned by billionaire Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

In Macau -- which along with Hong Kong makes up the two special administrative regions of China -- the Hon Hoi Group (International) Co. Ltd. will open two Dairy Queen locations. The Macau enclave is the only place in China where gambling is legal.

In Egypt, Boraie Development, an Egyptian company with businesses in New Jersey and Egypt, will open the first DQ Grill & Chill restaurant in Cairo this summer. Boraie could also eventually open 40 to 50 restaurants in four or five other Egyptian cities.
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Old February 18th, 2010, 04:53 PM   #110
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Las Vegas Sands Corp. Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2009 Results
http://investor.lasvegassands.com/re...leaseID=445408

Sands Macao's fourth quarter operating performance reflected solid gaming volumes with adjusted property EBITDAR increasing to $56.4 million in the quarter, an increase of 7.8% compared to the fourth quarter of 2008. EBITDAR margin decreased to 19.8% in the quarter, compared to 21.2% in the year-ago quarter. The quarter's results reflected an increase in reserves for slower paying customers of $12.4 million during the fourth quarter of 2009, compared to the fourth quarter of 2008. Sands Macao gaming volumes remain healthy across the board, including slot handle which was up 39.6% compared to the same quarter last year, and continue to reflect the strong market positioning of the Sands Macao on the Macau peninsula.

The Four Seasons Hotel Macao and Plaza Casino delivered $20.4 million of adjusted property EBITDAR for the fourth quarter, an increase of $15.8 million, or 343%, compared to $4.6 million during the prior year quarter. Net revenue for the property was $97.8 million during the fourth quarter, with casino revenues representing $77.4 million of that total. The property's performance benefited from the first full quarter of its Paiza mansion suite offerings, which drove healthy Rolling Chip volume of $3.75 billion during the quarter. Rolling Chip win percentage for the quarter was 2.12%, below our expected Rolling Chip win percentage of 3.0%. Approximately 29% of that Rolling Chip play was generated in our higher-margin direct rolling program. The mass gaming business at the Four Seasons Hotel Macao and Plaza Casino continued to grow during the quarter with $79.7 million in slot handle, an increase of $49.4 million, or 163.0%, over last year's quarter, while Non-Rolling Chip table games drop was $85.2 million. Hotel occupancy reached nearly 70%, up from approximately 32% in the same quarter last year.
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Old February 25th, 2010, 05:21 AM   #111
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Macao plans revamping areas surrounding World Heritage sites
23 February 2010

MACAO, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- The government of Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) Tuesday introduced its blueprint for the development of the urban area surrounding local landmark and World Heritage site Ruins of St. Paul's.

Being Macao's most famous tourist hotspot, the Ruins of St. Paul's is located at the core of the Historic Center of Macao, which is a living representation of the city's historic settlement, encompassing 22 outstanding examples of architectural legacies interwoven in the original urban fabric that includes streetscapes and urban squares.

The Center was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage site in 2005.

As more and more tourists coming to Macao in recent years, problems concerning traffic jams, air and environmental pollution, and the lack of connection among different heritage sites became evident, which have dented Macao's tourism image, said Lau Yung, an official from the Lands, Public Works and Transport Bureau of Macao Special Administrative Region.

Under the new urban development plan, the old districts surrounding the Ruins of St. Paul's will be divided into different functional areas, which include museum and culture, leisure and shopping, dining, and arts, Lau also said at a press conference.

The SAR government has already formed an inter-departmental group to handle the matter. The group has invited experts from the National University of Singapore to make an on-site investigation of the heritage sites' redevelopment plan.

The experts from Singapore will submit their proposal concerning the matter within the first quarter of this year.
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Old February 26th, 2010, 03:01 PM   #112
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Macau Gaming Is Safe ... For Now
Jeanine Poggi
02/23/10 - 11:48 AM EST

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Fears in the casino industry that spending and travel restrictions could hamper growth in Macau are waning after comforting signals from Chinese leaders.

According to the South China Morning Post, Mainland leaders intend to continue fiscal stimulus spending and appropriately loose monetary policies in 2010.

This, of course, is exactly what investors in the area's gaming stocks wanted to hear. Casinos with operations in the area, like Las Vegas Sands and Melco Crown Entertainment, had addressed concerns over tightening measures in their earnings calls over the past month.

Macau has become the primary source of growth for casinos, as gaming in the U.S., specifically on the Las Vegas strip, has experienced a steep drop amid the recession.

In January, Macau saw a 63.3% surge in gaming revenue to a record $1.58 billion.

Looking to capitalize on Macau's robust growth, Sands and Wynn Resorts completed initial public offerings of their Macau assets last year. And following the success of these two deals, MGM Mirage(MGM Quote) is currently in the process of undergoing an IPO of its own.

Still, despite the news, casino stocks are falling after consumer confidence showed a much-steeper-than-expected decline in February. Las Vegas Sands is sinking 2.7% to $16.07, Wynn is off 3 cents to $63.05, MGM is dropping 4.1% to $10.42 and Isle of Capri Casinos is tumbling 5.4% to $8.05.

-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.
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Old March 8th, 2010, 11:57 AM   #113
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Cotai Strip No. 1 Residence Tower 5

Quote:
Originally Posted by SeeMacau View Post
City of Dream Crown Hotel Tower and Hard Rock Hotel Tower - 28F


Source : Wikipedia (30 June, 2008)




Cotai Strip No. 1 Residence Tower 1 to 5 - 28F
What are the chances to get these residence towers approved? Has construction been approved yet? If not, when will it be approved? What is the price for Unit J ? Thanks!
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Old March 9th, 2010, 01:42 PM   #114
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Source : http://mccy88.xanga.com/

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Old March 11th, 2010, 04:01 PM   #115
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Macao to initiate archeological exploration near World Heritage sites

MACAO, Mar. 10 (Xinhua) -- The government of Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) Wednesday announced that it will start demolishing two government-owned apartment buildings near local World Heritage site Ruins of St. Paul's, so as to launch archeological exploration in that area.

The SAR government has formed a trans-department group to handle the urban plan of revamping the areas surrounding Ruins of St. Paul's, and the archeological exploration is part of the government's effort to extend the deeper historical value of the heritage sites. Another two government-owned apartment buildings in that areas will also be removed for the redevelopment plan in that area.

Being Macao's most famous tourist hotspot, the Ruins of St. Paul's is located at the core of the Historic Center of Macao, which is a living representation of the city's historic settlement, encompassing 22 outstanding examples of architectural legacies interwoven in the original urban fabric that includes streetscapes and urban squares. The Center was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage site in 2005.

In November last year, the SAR government has invited experts from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences to assess the archeological value of the areas surrounding Ruins of St. Paul's, and they concluded that it was still possible to made archeological findings in the areas, according to the trans- department group.

Aside from archeological exploration, under the new urban development plan, the old districts surrounding the Ruins of St. Paul's will be divided into different functional areas, which include museum and culture, leisure and shopping, dining and arts.
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Old March 18th, 2010, 09:01 AM   #116
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Upswing in Macau market draws stronger play by HK agencies
17 March 2010
SCMP

Hong Kong property agents have extended their competitive battlefield to Macau, lured by a recovery in the property market on the island.

Major Hong Kong agencies Midland Realty and Centaline Property Agency plan to boost their presence in the market by adding branches and staff, while Hong Kong Property Services (Agency) has announced its foray into the city with intentions to open five branches in the first phase of development.

Announcements of the plans came in anticipation of a market boost to be unveiled yesterday in the first policy address by Macau Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai-on.

Those expectations proved accurate when Chui said he would review immigration laws to address labour shortages and add 142 hectares of reclaimed land for development.

The land would not be reserved for casinos.

Speaking ahead of the address, Hong Kong Property chief executive Richard Lee Chi-shing said he expected good news for the Macau economy that would benefit the property market. "We expect the new administration to introduce stimulus measures to improve the economy."

Hong Kong Property plans to invest HK$5 million in its Macau expansion.

Centaline Property is targeting three new branches this year, bringing its network to a total of seven.

"We will also increase the number of staff to 120 from the existing 80," said Stanley Poon, managing director of the agency's Macau office.

Ronald Cheung Yat-fai, chief executive of Midland Realty (Macau), said the agency would increase its network by one or two branches on top of the existing five.

According to the Macau government, newly approved residential mortgage loans amounted to HK$6.6 billion in the fourth quarter of last year, three times the sum lent in the third quarter of the year.

The market recovery has also lured Rico Kwok, former chief of Centaline's Macau office, to set up his own business in Macau.

"I am optimistic about the growth of the real estate sector," he said. His Macau agency will open on March 26 with an investment of HK$1.5 million. It was the right time for the move since the Macau market was now riding an upward trend, he said.

Prices of luxury flats were recovering but at an average of HK$7,000 per sq ft, they were still more than HK$2,000 below the market's peak of more than HK$9,000 per sq ft, according to Midland's Cheung.

The number of sales in the Macau housing market slumped to fewer than 200 deals in January 2009, shortly after the global financial crisis struck, according to Hong Kong Property. This amounted to just 10 per cent of the 2,059 deals clinched during the market's peak in January 2008, but sales activity had rebounded to 1,297 deals in January this year, it said.

The average transaction price has meanwhile rebounded by 40 per cent to HK$2,381 per sq ft, from HK$1,678 at the end of 2008.

Agents said the resumption of work on the latest mega-resort in the gambling enclave, along with the start of construction on the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge - which will halve travelling time between Hong Kong and Macau to 30 minutes - will entice investors back into the market.

Signs of a revival are already evident, according to Poon of Centaline. More than 200 units of the mid-ranged housing development The Bayview were sold over the weekend.

He expected Macau home prices to grow 15 per cent this year.

While unveiling their expansion plans, all agents said that hiring sufficient sales people to cope with the future growth was proving to be a challenge.

"Macau is a small market and much of the manpower has already been absorbed by the gaming industry," Cheung said.
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Old March 25th, 2010, 05:05 PM   #117
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Macau To Cap Gambling Tables To Rein In Rapid Growth
25 March 2010

HONG KONG (Dow Jones)--The Macau government won't approve new casino projects and will only allow 500 additional gaming tables in the next three years, raising questions about major expansion plans of operators.

The decision comes as the government, which currently draws around 70% of its revenue from gaming, seeks to diversify the city's economy away from the gambling industry, with the goal of developing Macau into a popular leisure and entertainment destination.

At the moment, Macau has around 5,000 gambling tables and six licensed casino operators, some of which have projects under construction that could add around 1,300 tables by next year.

But Macau's top gaming official, Francis Tam, told legislators Tuesday that the total number of tables will be capped at 5,500 until 2013, adding that all unapproved projects have already been halted to promote healthy and orderly development of the casino market as gaming revenue continues to soar.

"Those casino developments that have already been approved may continue to complete their construction," said Tam, who is Macau's secretary for economy and finance. "So within the next three years, casino tables will only reach 5,500."

Tam said the casino industry's development in the last few years has become much more orderly, with an annual growth rate of around 4%-5%, compared with much bigger increases in capacity from 2003-2006.

Even so, Tam's comments come as Macau's gaming revenue skyrocketed 66% in the first two months this year, according to media reports, raising concerns the city's gambling market is expanding at an unsustainable pace.

The Chinese government has urged Macau's leaders to cool the city's gambling industry growth because of concerns that many mainland Chinese are gambling away their savings in Macau, the only place in China where casinos are legal.

Casino projects already approved include Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd.'s (0027.HK) flagship project on Cotai, which will have 600 gaming tables, as well as Sands China Ltd.'s (1928.HK) expansion project that could add 700 tables, based on CLSA estimates.

Both projects are scheduled to be completed by mid-2011, the casino operators have said.

But the math doesn't add up with the cap in place unless operators scale down their plans for new tables or remove some of their current tables, raising concerns over how the government will be able to implement the policy cap fairly, casino industry watchers say.

They said there is confusion as to whether the additional table capacity will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, benefiting those who have built big early, or if the cap total will be divided evenly among the operators.

"We need a lot more clarity on the policy. It's also unsettling for investors who may now be less willing to finance projects in Macau given the potential for policy changes like this," said Sean Monaghan, managing director at AG Leisure Partners.

"There's never been a cap before so it's not going to be a level playing field for operators," he said.

In response to Tam's comments, Sands China President Steve Jacobs told Dow Jones Newswires Thursday the company believes "the Macau government is sincere in its efforts to diversify and that it recognizes the integral part sites five and six play with regards to growth in hospitality, business, leisure tourism" and exhibition businesses. Sites five and six refer to Sands' Cotai expansion project under development. "We believe in the future of Macau and Sands China remains committed to working in partnership to help diversify the economy," Jacobs said.

Among other operators, Galaxy declined to comment, while Wynn Macau Ltd. (1128.HK) referred requests for comment to remarks in its 2009 earnings statement Wednesday.

Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. (MPEL), SJM Holdings Ltd. (0880.HK) and MGM Mirage (MGM) didn't immediately respond to requests seeking comment.

CLSA analyst Aaron Fischer said he would be surprised if Sands wasn't able to complete its project because of the table cap. "I don't know why the government would punish companies that are building projects that will attract the mass market and therefore have the potential to boost non-gaming revenue," he said

The Macau government said Thursday it had no further comment on Tam's speech on Tuesday.

Tam's statement to legislators Tuesday also suggests operators that have discussed plans to build on Cotai such as Wynn, MGM Mirage and SJM may not be given approval anytime soon.

Wynn Macau said in a statement accompanying its 2009 earnings it is awaiting approval from the Macau government to lease a plot of land on Cotai that would enable it to build an integrated casino and resort there.

The planned table cap follows earlier efforts by the government to rein in fast growth of the gambling industry.

Last week, Macau Chief Executive Fernando Chui said the government will take steps to repossess any idle land being held by casino developers without concrete plans to develop it.

However, analysts largely wrote off the tough talk as political posturing, given complaints about rising property prices.
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Old April 10th, 2010, 06:30 PM   #118
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Macao SAR gov't mulls taking back 24 idle land cases

MACAO, April 1 (Xinhua) -- Secretary for Transport and Public Works of Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) Lau Si Io has said that the government is investigating a total of two dozen cases of underdeveloped plot of lands and will take back any of them if their leaseholders failed to demonstrate any developments on them, the local Macao Post Daily reported Thursday.

Lau made the comment during the first of a two-day plenary debate about his 2010 policy portfolio at the legislative hemicycle.

The newspaper quoted Lau as saying that among some 100 cases of underdeveloped plots recorded by the Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau, the situation of these 24 cases is more " serious".

Lau said that the government had already sent notifications to the developers concerned, adding that the government would examine the subcontractors' explanations as to why development had not taken place before taking any action to repossess the lands.

Concerning any new agreements or renewal of agreements in the future, Lau said the government would increase the penalty for developers who failed to develop their plots of land as agreed and the penalty would be linked to the price of land concessions.

Chief Executive of Macao SAR Chui Sai On promised in his 2010 Policy Address delivered early last month that the government would repossess the idle lands granted to casino operators or other entities, transforming them into public housing and small- sized residential apartments.
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Old April 19th, 2010, 05:02 PM   #119
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Sands China Says Macau Expansion on Track
19 April 2010
The Wall Street Journal

SHANGHAI—Sands China Ltd.'s expansion project in Macau's Cotai area is on track to open in the third quarter of 2011 and the casino resort will have roughly 670 gaming tables at the opening, Chief Executive Steve Jacobs said Monday.

The Macau unit of casino operator Las Vegas Sands Corp. cancelled a news conference last month for a signing ceremony with contractors to re-start construction of the project, raising concerns it would face further delays after construction was halted in 2008 at the height of the financial crisis.

The cancellation came days after the Macau government said it would cap gambling tables in Macau at 5,500 until 2013 from the current 5,000 despite operators' major expansion plans.

A person familiar with the matter said last week rival Galaxy Entertainment, which also plans to open a major expansion project in Cotai in early 2011, would be given permission to put at least 400 new tables in its casino, driving speculation Sands China would need to take tables from its existing casino operations in Macau to open its new project.

Mr. Jacobs declined to comment on how many new tables Sands China will be allocated and said the company was still in talks with the government on those details.

"We support the table limitation approach that is being taken by the government. We think it's good for Macau because it forces the other concessionaires to invest as we have in non-gaming operations to drive their businesses forward," he said.

His comments came despite concerns among industry watchers that the table cap will affect Sands China the most negatively due to the project's ambitious scale.

"It's clear that if the government wants to diversify...that we've got to lead that effort," added Mr. Jacobs, who had just returned from a 12-city roadshow in China, which he said was aimed at promoting both Sands China and Macau as a destination for meetings and exhibitions, shopping and entertainment.

Mr. Jacobs reiterated the casino and hotel expansion project in Cotai would open in phases with the first comprising two casinos, retail and restaurant space, 3,700 hotel rooms from the Traders, Shangri-La and Sheraton brands along with some "new features" which will be announced in the coming weeks.

He said the first phase would be completed by the third quarter of 2011, while the second phase, which will add 2,300 rooms, will be finished four to six months later. There is no timeline for the third phase, which was planned to include the St. Regis hotel, nor is there clarity on whether it would be built.

"We're in the process of ramping up the construction of the project," Mr. Jacobs said, adding the company won't re-schedule the construction signing ceremony.

He said the company has been given the labor quotas needed to complete the project. Analysts have raised concerns the Macau government would be reluctant to offer substantial quotas to construction companies to employ workers from China as local Macau workers have criticized the government for importing too much foreign labor.

"It typically takes anywhere from two to three months to get everybody on site," Mr. Jacobs added. "If you stop by the site today, you'd see we have several thousand workers underway."

Mark Russell, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Venetian Macau, one of Sands China's properties, told reporters there has been a pick-up in meetings and events this year, and that he is seeing more clients make long-term commitments in their bookings.

About 12% of Sands China's revenue comes from non-gambling businesses such as restaurants and hotels.

Sands China, Macau's second largest casino operator by revenue after SJM Holdings, is due to report its first-quarter earnings May 7.
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Old April 23rd, 2010, 05:28 PM   #120
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Tang to persuade HK entrepreneurs to tap Hengqin island development
23 April 2010
SCMP

Hong Kong entrepreneurs will be encouraged to take part in the development of Hengqin, a Guangdong island earmarked as a key base for cross-delta co-operation, Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen said in Macau after meeting Macau Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai-on.

Tang met Chui at the Macau government headquarters before attending a forum on cross-delta economic ties in the former Portuguese enclave.

"Mr Chui invited Hong Kong to take part in the development [of Hengqin]," Tang said. "I'll further introduce Hengqin to Hong Kong enterprises and see what suitable investment opportunities there are."

He said Hong Kong companies may have an advantage in Hengqin's development, which is centred on tourism, convention, exhibition, leisure and cultural industries.

Guangdong officials said in December that the province would spend 72.6 billion yuan (HK$82.4 billion) to transform Hengqin, an island off Macau, from a bleak outpost with a gross domestic product of just 128 million yuan in 2008 into a key base for cross-delta co-operation.

They said a new town would be built on the 86 square kilometre island, with a theme park, multi-functional power station and business district.

Hengqin enjoys sub-provincial administrative status, joining the ranks of Pudong New Area in Shanghai and Binhai New Area in Tianjin.

Tang said at the forum in the Macau Tower that Hong Kong entrepreneurs would be encouraged to upgrade their plants in Guangdong and expand mainland sales networks.

"We believe the successful transformation of Hong Kong enterprises would be a huge contribution to the upgrade of the overall competitiveness of the manufacturing industry of the Pearl River Delta," he said.

Tang said Hong Kong firms should expand their sales networks as Beijing unveiled more policies to spur domestic consumption in the wake of the global financial crisis.

Guangdong deputy governor Lei Yulan and Macau finance minister Francis Tam Pak-yuen also attended the forum.
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