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Old April 25th, 2010, 05:44 AM   #121
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Wynn Plans a New Casino in Macau
21 April 2010
The Wall Street Journal

MACAU -- Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman Steve Wynn said he would build a major new casino in Macau's Cotai area, stepping up competition in the heart of one of the gambling industry's most lucrative growth centers.

Mr. Wynn, speaking in an interview ahead of the opening of his new hotel and casino, Encore at Wynn Macau, said construction on the Cotai project would start next year, in time to open as early as the end of 2013, and would feature a single hotel and likely include no more than 450 gambling tables.

While many of his peers have plunged headlong into Cotai, a strip of reclaimed land that Mr. Wynn described last year as "the most extraordinary opportunity in the world," Mr. Wynn has moved more cautiously. In 2007, Las Vegas Sands Corp. opened the world's largest casino, its Venetian resort, there, and is now working on a bigger project across the street.

Wynn previously said it had applied for a 52-acre parcel of land in Cotai but until Tuesday hadn't made public any plans to develop a project there. The company's decision to start work in Cotai would make it the fourth of Macau's six licensed casino operators to stake its claim in the area.

Mr. Wynn's Encore Macau is the only opening by a major casino operator this year in the Chinese territory, but it is relatively modest; the $600 million Encore Macau has 61 gambling tables, and Mr. Wynn described the project Tuesday as a "boutique hotel" meant to cater to Macau's highest-end visitors.

He brushed off analyst concerns that Encore Macau would be perceived as merely an annex to his flagship Wynn Macau property, praising the hotel's design and saying that the 1,100-square-foot standard rooms would set a benchmark for new hotels in the territory.

The company said the timing of the property's opening, originally scheduled for Wednesday, was uncertain after Beijing declared a national day of mourning following last week's earthquake in northwestern China.

Mr. Wynn's Cotai plans come just days before Las Vegas Sands opens the world's most expensive casino, the $5.5 billion Marina Bay Sands, on Singapore's main waterfront. Analysts have been divided over Singapore's impact on Macau, but Mr. Wynn said Macau's proximity to mainland China's gamblers would keep it insulated from any Singapore threat.

Mr. Wynn dismissed worries that Macau government officials could limit the number of gambling tables, calling recent remarks by top officials part of "a conversation, not a reality."

"Is the table cap a fait accompli? The answer is no," Mr. Wynn said. He added that he is in regular dialogue with top Macau officials and said officials wouldn't approve projects by holders of casino licenses unless they were comfortable with the idea of more gambling tables.

Mr. Wynn also lashed out at New Jersey gaming authorities, who last month released a report that deemed Pansy Ho, the daughter of Macau gambling tycoon Stanley Ho, an "unsuitable" business partner for MGM Mirage. The company had formed a joint venture with Ms. Ho to enter Macau and also owns 50% of the Borgata casino resort in Atlantic City, N.J. MGM Mirage said last month that it would leave the New Jersey market in response to regulatory concerns about its dealings with Ms. Ho.

Mr. Wynn called the New Jersey recommendation against Ms. Ho "ridiculous," saying regulators were overreaching to make a political statement.

Peter Aseltine, a spokesman for the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, said his agency's report "reflected the Division of Gaming Enforcement's overriding interest in ensuring the integrity of those who own, operate and control casinos. That concern for integrity extends to a licensee's associates. The recommendations were based on a fair and very thorough investigation."
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Old May 20th, 2010, 08:07 PM   #122
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Sands' US$4.2b Cotai complex to open with fewer new tables
8 May 2010
South China Morning Post

Las Vegas Sands Corp's new US$4.18 billion Cotai casino complex must make do with 40 per cent fewer new gaming tables than originally anticipated following the Macau government's decision to cap the number of tables in the city at 5,500.

Sands planned to add 670 tables to its half-built, 6,000-room resort with Sheraton, Shangri-La and Traders branded hotels across the street from the Venetian. But following the government's announcement in March that it would limit the supply of new gaming tables until 2013, Sands has received approval to add only 400 new tables at the property.

"We met last week with members of the Macau government and we've been assured in writing of 400 tables to start with, and there are assurances of reviewing tables as we go over the next couple of years," Sands president and chief operating officer Michael Leven said yesterday.

Macau had 4,811 gaming tables at the end of March, and the decision to try to cool red-hot growth in the casino industry with the 5,500-unit cap has complicated things for resort developers in the midst of large-scale expansions. In addition to Sands, which has spent US$1.73 billion towards building its new property, Galaxy Entertainment is building a HK$14.1 billion Cotai resort scheduled to open next year with space for about 600 tables.

Sands will work within the new quota but still plans to open the property with 670 tables. In addition to the 400 new units, it plans to relocate 170 of its 1,131 existing tables at the Venetian, Sands and Four Seasons casinos. The remaining 100 units will be newly added electronic gaming tables, which are technically classified as slot machines.

"We will open with enough tables to justify the [performance] numbers that we've projected," Leven said.

The parent of locally listed Sands China said that net revenue at its three Macau properties rose to US$935.85 million in the first quarter, up 23.9 per cent from a year ago but 1.8 per cent short of the previous quarter's record revenue.

But the firm's increase in cash flow nearly doubled the pace of revenue growth owing to cost cutting and a slight shift towards more "direct" VIP play, where the casino bypasses junket agents who command hefty commissions in order to issue credit directly to players. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) at the Macau properties came in at a record US$259.17 million, up 49.7 per cent from a year earlier and 4.3 per cent from the previous quarter.

Sands' Cotai project was stalled in November 2008 as the developer ran out of funds in the wake of the financial crisis, laying off around 11,000 builders. The company now plans to open the project in phases from next year. Funding for the remaining US$2.35 billion to finish the property will include US$500 million of the proceeds from last year's Hong Kong listing, contributions from ongoing cash flows and a US$1.75 billion syndicated loan.

Executives expect financing to close later this month and full construction on Cotai to resume in three to four months, after all the construction contracts are signed.
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Old May 24th, 2010, 07:05 PM   #123
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RLPC-Banks face loss on Sands China loan-sources

HONG KONG, May 12 (Reuters) - Bank underwriters of a $1.75 billion loan for Sands China Ltd which finances the construction of a new casino in Macau are expected to sell it at a loss in the secondary loan market, bankers said on Wednesday.

Sands China Ltd is the Macau subsidiary of U.S. casino operator Las Vegas Sands (LVS), which is owned by billionaire Sheldon Adelson.

The $1.75 billion loan will allow LVS to finish construction work on lots five and six of the Venetian Macau development which were mothballed in November 2008 when LVS hit cash flow problems at the peak of the credit crunch.

Banks are expected to sell the loan at 87 percent of face value or lower after many bank investors declined to join the loan in a lengthy four-month syndication, banking sources said.

The loan raised around $150 million in a lengthy syndication which left underwriters overexposed to the tune of $1.6 billion, sources said.

Ten banks underwrote Sands China's loan in December 2009 before its $2.5 billion stock market listing which was the seventh-largest IPO globally in 2009.

Underwriters on the deal are: Bank of China Macau ($250 million), BNP Paribas ($250 million), Citigroup ($250 million), Barclays Capital ($200 million), Goldman Sachs ($200 million), UBS ($200 million), Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Macau ($150 million), Banco Nacional Ultramarino ($100 million), DBS Bank ($75 million) and OCBC Bank ($75 million).

Investment banks generally come under greater internal pressure to sell loans in the secondary market and re-use the capital if syndication fails to reach target hold levels.

DEEP DISCOUNT

Sands China's loan is expected to trade at a deeper discount than fellow subsidiary Marina Bay Sands' loan, which is trading at 87 percent of face value, according to Thomson Reuters LPC data.

The trading levels reflect differing risk profiles -- Singapore's Marina Bay Sands is open for business, while Sands China is borrowing to cover the construction cost of a new casino in Macau which is expected to open in 2011.

A senior loan syndicator, whose bank did not join the deal, said that the greenfield project and overcapacity in the Macau market weighed against his bank joining. Macau, the world's largest and fastest-growing gambling market, generated record gambling revenues in April, up 70 percent from a year earlier. [ID:nT0E64302K]

Bankers however remain concerned about Beijing's travel restrictions on mainland Chinese visiting Macau -- the only place in the country where casino gambling is legal.

The loan also faced a difficult syndication, launching in December before the two-month slowdown in the syndicated loan market around year-end and Lunar New Year.

Despite higher pricing of 450 basis points over HIBOR or LIBOR, bank investors remained wary of the risk.

"You can counter risk with higher pricing to attract hedge funds, but when risk crosses a certain point for banks, there's no way to overcome that," said the senior loans syndicator.

Two sources - one from an underwriting bank - said the deal was also kept open for covenant changes, which required banks to seek new credit approvals.
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Old May 29th, 2010, 07:45 AM   #124
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Old June 2nd, 2010, 05:54 PM   #125
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Galaxy Entertainment upbeat on outlook in booming Macau
2 June 2010

HONG KONG, June 2 (Reuters) - Analysts looking for about 30 percent growth in Galaxy Entertainment's gambling revenue this year may upgrade their forecasts after Macau posted record casino revenue for April and May, executives from one of Macau's six casino operators said on Wednesday.

Macau casino revenue surged almost 100 percent in May to more than 17 billion patacas, the South China Morning Post reported on Wednesday, citing government-run broadcaster TDM. That followed a 70 percent year-on-year jump in April, when revenue rose to a previous record 14.1 billion patacas ($1.76 billion).

Analysts had forecast Galaxy Entertainment , one of Macau's six gambling licensees, would post revenue of HK$16 billion this year, up about 30 percent from 2009, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

"Possibly over the last seven or eight months some analysts have been pretty conservative," Peter Caveny, vice-president of investor relations for Galaxy, told Reuters in a telephone interview. "We don't give projections, but it's clear in analyst comments coming out that they're probably going to restate what the market's going to be ... which indicates they probably believe the numbers are going to be increased accordingly."

Chief Financial Officer Bob Drake said market sentiment had been very positive after Galaxy reported record earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation in the last two quarters.

On Wednesday, the company, controlled by the family of Hong Kong tycoon Lui Che Woo, reported that its EBITDA rose 79 percent in the first quarter of 2010 to HK$417 million, with revenue up 51 percent to HK$3.95 billion.

Galaxy said its new HK$14.1 billion mega-resort, Galaxy Macau, was set to open on schedule in early 2011 on Macau's Cotai Strip, billed by local promoters as Asia's version of the Vegas Strip. It is already home to megaresorts operated by Sands China and Melco Crown .

The project was previously delayed in late 2008 at the peak of the global financial crisis.

"We're very excited about it," Drake said. "I think we have a very unique offering that will help create a critical mass in Cotai.

The new casino would have capacity for more than 600 tables, although Drake declined to say how many it would initially hold at the open. That number is significantly higher than the 250 tables at its current main Macau property, which caters mostly to higher-end gamblers.

The Galaxy Macau would cater more to mass-market gamblers, aiming to have about two-thirds of its tables dedicated to that group, Caveny said.

Shares in Galaxy have risen about 13 percent so far this year, underperforming Sands China, up about 17 percent and Wynn Macau , which has gained about 31 percent. Galaxy shares were up 2.8 percent on Wednesday after the results came out, beating the broader market's 0.45 percent decline.

"Valuation-wise, it's cheap," Gabriel Chan, an analyst with Credit Suisse, told Reuters before the interview. "The market has underestimated the earnings potential for Galaxy Macau. There's a lot of room for upside."
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Old June 14th, 2010, 06:01 PM   #126
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Developers optimistic about serviced apartment sector Macau
11 June 2010
South China Morning Post

Despite the influx of expatriates, recruited to work in Macau's growing portfolio of luxury hotels and casinos, the serviced apartment market remains small due to executives' lengthier job postings and cheaper property prices.

"Renting an apartment in Macau is not as expensive as Hong Kong. With the majority of expatriates signed on to work in Macau for at least a year, if not more, it makes more sense to rent an apartment without services," explains Ronald Cheung, CEO of Midland Realty Macau.

"Those that come for a shorter period can stay in any of the hotels. That mid-point of three to six months, somewhere between short stay and long term stay, does not, however, seem to be too common."

Indeed, developers and apartment operators in Macau are dealing with a very different type of expatriate tenant to Hong Kong; not the big housing budget of an investment banker who plans to spend much of his time in the office, but a couple or a family looking to make Macau their home for the next few years.

"Macau's rental market also offers more value for money. It is not expensive to rent a decent sized apartment, so many people tend to do that instead," Cheung says.

Even units at Lot W, one of Macau's very few premium serviced apartment properties, situated in northwest Taipa, are big in terms of size. Each apartment is about 2,830 sqft and is designed around a comprehensive list of facilities that include a shopping centre, private membership club, school, post office, medical centre, 24-hour convenience store, supermarkets and a nursery, all within easy access.

MacauLand has also developed large family-style residences at The Manhattan, close to the Cotai Strip. As an incentive to buyers, the company sold the units with a leasing option, allowing owners to lease their properties back to MacauLand, which would in turn sublet the fully furnished flats to casinos and hotels, guaranteeing owners a 5 per cent yield over the course of two years.

"A lot of international investors were keen to invest in property in Macau, but they did not want the hassle of having to deal with tenants and leasing issues. Though the period for guaranteed yields has expired, we continue to offer our leasing and tenancy management services as a value added service to owners," says Benjamin Kao, a principal at MacauLand Developments.

About half of the 175 units at The Manhattan are leased out. The development, which was completed in 2007, offers the choice of three bedroom apartments of 1,600 sqft and four bedroom apartments of 2,200 sqft.

Aside from the location, many tenants want to live in developments within walking distance, or a close drive from their workplace. Many executives also seek flats that have quality fixtures and fittings, an English-language concierge service and comprehensive clubhouse facilities.

The Manhattan offers 30,000 sqft of recreational space featuring a gym, swimming pool, movie theatre, spa, playground, barbecue deck, among other facilities. "Macau is much smaller than Hong Kong. There aren't many parks or recreational places, so tenants see their apartment buildings as an oasis and want to have everything right there," Kao explains.

One Central, in the Nape area of Macau, with a direct link to the MGM Grand Macau and in close proximity to Wynn Macau, has become one of the most popular rental properties because of its convenient location and comprehensive clubhouse facilities.

The Hongkong Land and Shun Tak Holdings joint venture is a waterfront mixed-use project comprising residences, luxury retail and a hotel managed by the Mandarin Oriental Group on a site spanning 200,000 sqft.

The development has seven residential blocks offering about 800 units of one- to four-bedroom apartments. The luxury residential clubhouse features indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and a landscaped garden. Plans are under way to launch serviced apartments at the property.

Despite the lacklustre market for serviced apartments, developers and realtors are optimistic that it will pick up over the next few years. "There may not be much demand in the market now, but we see more room for growth in the future, especially with the completion of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge, which could generate more demand from businessmen who wish to be based in Macau," Kao says.

As the sector evolves, developers may also look to building smaller one- to two-bedroom apartments to meet growing demand. "We will likely see the development of a few purpose-built properties that are designed as serviced apartments, though rents will be cheaper than Hong Kong because of the lower value of property," Kao says.
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Old July 2nd, 2010, 06:47 PM   #127
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Mandarin Oriental, Macau Opens For Business
http://www.mandarinoriental.com/abou...acau_open.aspx

HONG KONG, 29 June, 2010 – Vivienne Tam, prominent fashion designer and Mandarin Oriental ‘fan’, joined João Manuel Costa Antunes, Director of Macau’s Government Tourist Office and senior executives from Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Hongkong Land and Shun Tak Holdings today at a colourful ceremony and ribbon cutting to mark the opening of the stunning new 213-room Mandarin Oriental, Macau.

A festive lion dance and fire crackers were followed by private guest tours of the hotel and a celebratory dine around experience at the hotel’s chic restaurant and bar, Vida Rica.

Mandarin Oriental, Macau is the most luxurious and stylish hotel in the enclave with panoramic views of Taipa Island, Nam Van Lake, Macau Tower and the hills of the South China coastline. The hotel has a holistic Spa at Mandarin Oriental, a comprehensive fitness centre, temperature controlled outdoor swimming pool, a range of stylish event space and the vibrant Vida Rica restaurant and bar, which is set to be the place to ‘see and be seen’.

Speaking at the ceremony, Martin Schnider, General Manager said: “I believe that today’s opening will bring a new dimension of luxury to this exciting city and we are delighted to welcome all of you to the warmth of Mandarin Oriental, Macau.”

Andrew Hirst, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group’s Operations Director, Asia added: “The achievement of today’s events could not have happened without the vision, commitment and dedication of our partners, and I would like to particularly thank Shun Tak Holdings and HongKong Land, the owners of this magnificent property for their passion in creating this landmark hotel in Macau.”

The hotel’s opening package rates start from HKD2,188 per night. This includes one complimentary consecutive night’s accommodation or a dining or spa credit valued at MOP388. Reservations can be made through Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group’s on-line reservations service at www.mandarinoriental.com or by contacting the Group’s worldwide sales and reservation offices, or by phoning Mandarin Oriental, Macau directly on +853 8805 8822, or e-mailing [email protected].

About Mandarin Oriental, Macau

Mandarin Oriental, Macau is ideally situated in the heart of Macau’s business, entertainment and high-end retail districts, offering easy access to all major tourist sites and transport hubs. Both Macau International Airport and the Macau-China border are 10 minutes by car, while the Hong Kong-Macau ferry terminal is just a short five-minute drive away. From here, Hong Kong’s airport can be directly accessed by ferry in 45 minutes and Central Hong Kong in just one hour.

About Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group is the award-winning owner and operator of some of the world's most prestigious hotels, resorts and residences. Mandarin Oriental now operates, or has under development, 41 hotels representing over 10,000 rooms in 26 countries, with 17 hotels in Asia, 13 in The Americas and 11 in Europe and North Africa. In addition, the Group operates, or has under development, 13 Residences at Mandarin Oriental, connected to the Group’s properties.

Photography of Mandarin Oriental is available to download, in high and low resolution, in the Photo Library of our Media section.
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Old July 11th, 2010, 05:13 PM   #128
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No casino at new Mandarin Oriental in Macau
AP
By BETH J. HARPAZ, AP Travel Editor Beth J. Harpaz, Ap Travel Editor
Tue Jun 29, 7:57 pm ET

NEW YORK – Macau is one of the world's premier gambling destinations, but its newest hotel, the Mandarin Oriental Macau, opening Tuesday, does not have a casino.

The luxury Mandarin Oriental hotel group opened a new hotel in Las Vegas in December that also does not have a casino.

At a meeting of Mandarin Oriental managers at the group's New York property earlier this week, hotel officials said both the Vegas and Macau hotels offer alternatives to visitors who happen to be in gambling centers but who prefer accommodations in a non-gaming environment.

"You're going completely the other way to differentiate yourself," said Jonas A. Schuermann, general manager of the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong.

Potential guests might include families, couples where one person likes to gamble but the other does not, and even celebrities looking for a peaceful place away from the crowds.

Many hotel-casinos are built so that guests must walk through or past large, dark, noisy casino areas to reach their accommodations, so the Mandarin Oriental properties also provide a different experience walking in.

Some visitors to Macau may also be more interested in its cultural attractions and unusual colonial history than in games of chance, just as some tourists head to Vegas for shows, restaurants and the Bellagio fountains but leave town without ever placing a bet or playing the slots.

Macau, a former Portuguese colony that is now part of China, is about 40 miles from Hong Kong, reachable via ferry. There are about 60 hotels in Macau and 33 casinos. Its gambling revenue for first-quarter 2010 was over $5 billion, according to statistics from its Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.

Las Vegas has 295 hotels and motels, of which 81 have casinos, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. First-quarter 2010 gaming revenue on the Vegas Strip was $1.53 billion, according to the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

Opening a property in Macau without a casino is also much easier to do these days than opening one with gaming. The Macau government is controlling growth by limiting the number of casino licenses available, and officials haven't indicated a desire to license new operators.

Starting rates for the Mandarin Oriental in Macau are $281 a night.

Mandarin Oriental's flagship property is in Hong Kong. The group currently operates 26 hotels around the world, including an older property in Macau called the Grand Lapa. A rapid expansion in the next three years will add another 16 hotels to the Mandarin Oriental group in locations including Paris, Costa Rica and Marrakech, Morocco. Some scenes from the "Sex and the City 2" movie set in the Abu Dhabi hotel were filmed at the Morocco property.
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Old July 19th, 2010, 05:06 PM   #129
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HK Court Throws Out ESun Claim Against Macao Studio City Partners
19 July 2010

HONG KONG (Dow Jones)--A Hong Kong court threw out an eSun Holdings Ltd. (0571.HK) unit's US$2.39 billion claim against its joint-venture partners in the Macao Studio City casino project, deadlocked for three years while disputes among investors escalated.

But the fate of the troubled project remains up in the air, and pressure to find a resolution is mounting. The Macau government has indicated it will reclaim its 6 million-square-foot site if plans don't proceed in the 'near future,' according to the court ruling.

High Court Judge A.T. Reyes ruled Friday that East Asia Satellite Television (Holdings) Ltd.'s claims against New Cotai LLC, owned by U.S. investment firms Oaktree Capital Management LP and Silver Point Capital LP, and former Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS) executive David Friedman, were 'untenable.' Reyes called the claim against three New Cotai directors for inducing their own company to break the share-purchase agreement 'fanciful.' 'There is no serious issue to be tried here,' the ruling said.

However, the judge said there is 'a good arguable case' regarding a separate US$88.6 million claim against Oaktree and Silver Point 'for inducing New Cotai to breach' the share-purchase agreement.

East Asia, which wanted to renegotiate the terms of the joint-venture agreement, sued New Cotai and its directors in October for allegedly failing to cooperate to progress the casino project.

The suit followed the U.S. investors' offer to buy out eSun at HK$1,200 (US$154) a square foot in July 2008, according to some people familiar with the matter. Late last year, they say, eSun offered to buy out the U.S. group at HK$400 a square foot for the project.

David Friedman, chief executive of New Cotai, said in a statement: 'We are pleased that the High Court dismissed so many of East Asia's claims at this early stage of the proceedings.' The press release added New Cotai remains 'well positioned to complete Macao Studio City once the impediments to doing so, including the litigation initiated by East Asia, are resolved.'

The project initially attracted Marriott, W and Ritz-Carlton hotels, a high-end shopping mall by Taubman Centers Inc. (TCO) and a Playboy Mansion.

But Taubman and Playboy Enterprises Inc. (PLA) backed out in 2009. This April, U.S. hedge fund Passport Capital LLC sold its entire 28.78% stake in eSun.

ESun, controlled by Hong Kong tycoon Peter Lam, could not be reached for comment Saturday. Oaktree and Silver Point were also unavailable.

Singapore developer CapitaLand Ltd. (C31.SG), which bought a 20% stake in the Studio City venture from eSun, did not reply to a written request for comment.
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Old July 26th, 2010, 04:21 PM   #130
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No impact from HK court ruling: CapitaLand
20 July 2010
Business Times Singapore

CAPITALAND said yesterday that there was no financial impact on the group stemming from a court ruling in Hong Kong concerning a troubled Macau casino project.

The group has an effective 20 per cent stake in the Macao Studio City project through one-third owned East Asia Satellite.

The remaining interests in the project are equally held by Hong Kong-based eSun Holdings (through two-thirds owned East Asia Satellite) and New Cotai.

East Asia had in October launched a US$2.39 billion legal suit against New Cotai and its directors, accusing them of systematically hindering the development of the Macao Studio City project.

This lawsuit followed an attempt by New Cotai to buy out eSun's share of the Macau project.

New Cotai is a consortium of US-based investors, including former Las Vegas Sands Corp executive David Friedman (who is co-chairman and co-CEO of Macao Studio City) and private US-based investment firms Silver Point Capital LP and Oaktree Capital Management LLC.

The High Court in Hong Kong last Friday struck out certain claims made by East Asia while allowing a separate US$88.6 million claim against Oaktree Capital and Silver Point for 'inducing breach' of an agreement to proceed.

CapitaLand said that this ruling did not result in any requirement for CapitaLand or its representatives on East Asia's board to make payment to New Cotai and other defendants and was therefore 'not expected to have any material impact on the net tangible assets or earnings per share of the CapitaLand Group for the financial year ending 31 December 2010'.

eSun also said in a separate statement yesterday that some legal proceedings against New Cotai and other defendants are continuing.

These proceedings include claims for damages against New Cotai for breach of contract, and against New Cotai shareholders Silver Point and Oaktree Capital for inducing breaches of contract. East Asia is also seeking a court order to buy out New Cotai's stake in the joint venture.

eSun said that East Asia is now reviewing the judgment to decide whether to lodge an appeal and/or commence proceedings in other jurisdictions such as Macau or British Virgin Islands in circumstances where the Hong Kong court has ruled that it will not entertain the proceedings.
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Old July 30th, 2010, 06:39 PM   #131
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Residential riding high on Macau boom
29 July 2010
The Australian

IN 2006, just when the world's largest gambling groups began to stake their claims in Macau, Tom Ashworth and his partner Martin Tacon decided to try their luck elsewhere.

Instead of casinos, the partners launched an opportunity fund to invest in high-end residential, retail and commercial property in Macau to capitalise on the boom in gambling.

The Macau Property Opportunities Fund made its debut on the London Stock Exchange three weeks ago.

The trust was first listed on AIMS, the second board in London, and the managers chose to move it to the main board to widen the shareholder base and boost its turnover.

Riding on the back of the gambling boom in Macau, the value of the five assets owned by the trust rose to $US313 million ($349m).

Mr Tacon, a director of Sniper Capital, which manages Macau Opportunity Fund, said its largest asset was a residential tower in the prestigious One Central project on Macau's waterfront.

One Central was jointly developed by Hong Kong Land and Shun Tak, controlled by Patsy Ho, daughter of long-term Macau investor Stanley Ho. Mr Tacon said the project offered luxury accommodation -- a part of the market previously missing in Macau -- for expatriates drawn to the city's strong economy.

Such was the demand for quality housing, most of the apartments had been sold within two weeks of their release in 2006, Mr Tacon said.

The developers sold about 700 of the 800 units in the seven towers before the global financial crisis savaged the residential market, reaping $HK6 billion from the sales. The sale price of luxury apartments in Macau has doubled in the past two years to about $HK4500 ($646) per square metre.

Mr Tacon said the fund had started to lease apartments, which were setting new rental standards in quality and rents.

Tenants were paying up to $HK40,000 weekly for two-bedroom apartments in One Central.

The trust had leased 10 of the 59 apartments in the second quarter, with several more tenancies under negotiation.

Mr Tacon said Macau had the fastest-growing economy in the world, with some pundits forecasting growth of up to 14 per cent this year.

Gambling revenue reached $US15bn last year and retail sales grew 30 per cent.

Aaron Fischer, gambling analyst with CLSA, a Hong Kong investment bank, part of Credit Agricole, said revenue growth in Macau was ``phenomenal'' and was continuing to exceed expectations.

``May revenues increased 95 per cent off a relatively high base,'' Mr Fischer said, adding that revenues were now three times those of Las Vegas.

``Revenue growth over the last eight months has been averaging around 60 per cent.''

He said Macau gambling revenue would increase by 100-200 per cent over the next four years, while supply would increase by only 15 per cent.

Groups such as Melco PBL, a joint venture between James Packer and Lawrence Ho which ran City of Dreams, had sharply improved their performance, Mr Fischer said.

Two more projects were in the pipeline, he said, with another two or three expected, bringing thetotal additional investment to between $US5bn and $US10bn.

Las Vegas-based Sheldon Adelson, who has the largest exposure to Macau, has been quick to build on the early success of his first two casinos: Sands Macau and Venetian Macau.

His gambling group, Las Vegas Sands, has two more hotels under construction on the Cotai Strip, expected to be completed within 18-24 months.

CLSA said Las Vegas Sands, which last year listed its Macau operations, known as Sands China, on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, had submitted plans to the Macau government for three more integrated resorts on five remaining sites.
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Old August 5th, 2010, 09:55 AM   #132
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Wynn Macau struts its stuff on the Cotai Strip
31 July 2010
South China Morning Post

The company's plans for Cotai include a casino resort with about 1,500 hotel rooms, 500 tables and 1,300 slot machines, chairman and chief executive Steve Wynn said yesterday on a conference call.

The property as planned would use 16 hectares of the company's 21-hectare Cotai site, leaving room for potential second-phase development. Wynn said last month he planned to break ground next year and open the resort by 2014.

He dismissed concerns that the current flurry of construction on the strip would lead to overcapacity. Rival Sands China is spending US$4.42 billion on a 6,000-room Sheraton, Shangri-La and Traders casino-hotel complex, while Galaxy Entertainment's HK$14.1 billion Cotai property plans to open by March next year.

Despite the bigger scale and mass-market orientation of the Cotai resorts - which so far include Sands' Venetian Macao and Melco Crown Entertainment's City of Dreams - Wynn said his new property would not deviate from his focus on the luxury end of the market.

"Dance with the girl that you brought to the party," he said. "Stick to what we do best, take advantage of Cotai and do it better than anybody's ever done it." Wynn has yet to announce a budget or funding arrangements for the project, which is still moving through the government approvals process.

Net profit at Wynn Macau soared to US$132.52 million in the second quarter, up 109 per cent from US$63.27 million a year earlier. Operating revenue rose 74 per cent to US$714.41 million.

Wynn's bottom line was boosted by booming business from high rollers following the opening of the 400-room Encore, as well from the high-stakes baccarat tables.

VIP chip sales rose 72 per cent from a year ago to US$21.7 billion. The company won back a better-than-expected 3.22 per cent of those wagers, compared with a worse-than-expected win rate of 2.66 per cent a year earlier.

Despite the robust results, shares in Wynn Macau fell 3.92 per cent yesterday, after the figures were released, to close at HK$13.22. They have risen 38.43 per cent in the year to date against a 3.85 per cent drop in the Hang Seng Index.
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Old August 8th, 2010, 06:17 PM   #133
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Macao to build 6,800 public housing flats in Coloane island in 2012

MACAO, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- A total of 6,800 public housing flats will be built near Seac Pai Van in Macao's Coloane island, the Macao Post Daily reported on Thursday.

The newspaper quoted Daniel Low Shin Chung, deputy director of the Lands, Public Works and Transport Bureau, as saying that a public tendering process will be launched for the construction project some time near the end of the year or early next year.

Low, who made the comments on the sidelines of the launch of leveling activities to prepare the site, stressed that contractors who win the bid will be required to stay on track for a 2012 opening of the property.

According to data provided by the Lands, Public Works and Transport Bureau, most of the flats will be two-bedroom units.

The government did not specify whether the Coloane units will be social housing flats for rent or home-ownership scheme (HOS) flats for purchase.
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Old August 10th, 2010, 12:08 PM   #134
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Macao to launch light rail construction in 2011
9 August 2010

MACAO, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- Construction on the main routes of Macao's Light Rapid Transit (LRT) project was scheduled to break ground early next year, Macao Post Daily reported on Monday.

A lawsuit launched by a company bidding on the construction tender, changes to the routes, and other reasons have led to the delay of the project, which was originally planned to start in 2008 and be completed in 2011.

The Transportation Infrastructure Office of Macao, which overlooks the LRT project, still need to add some minor designs to the project following the bidding process, the daily quoted a spokesman of the Office as saying.

The government of Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) has previously said that the successful bid for the project will be announced in the third quarter of this year.

The first phase of the project could still be completed in 2014, the spokesman also said.

The SAR government has said that the cost of the first phase of the project was expected to increase to 7.5 billion patacas (938 million U.S. dollars).
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Old August 12th, 2010, 05:17 PM   #135
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Old August 16th, 2010, 05:43 PM   #136
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Labour shortage poses challenge to casino firms
13 August 2010
South China Morning Post

A brewing labour shortage in Macau is one of the biggest challenges facing the billion-dollar casino resorts now under construction or planned for the Cotai Strip.

Sands China has half the workers it needs to keep construction of its half-finished US$4.36 billion Sheraton, Shangri-La and Traders hotel complex on schedule to open by September next year, acting chief executive Michael Leven said yesterday.

The company has about 1,300 builders on site - half of what is required at the moment - and nowhere near the 10,000 to 11,000 workers that will be needed once construction reaches its peak.

"We're short some people right now," Leven said. "We're working with the government in order to get the permits."

Wary of stoking local resentment against foreign workers, which has boiled over in recent years into violent May Day street protests, the Macau government has since 2008 undertaken a policy of actively reducing imported labour.

The city had 72,000 non-resident workers, accounting for 22 per cent of the labour force as of June, but that is down by about 30 per cent, or 30,000, from the peak of 104,000 foreign workers in September 2008.

The policy preserved local jobs throughout the financial crisis, using foreign labour as an expendable buffer against the downturn. Mainlanders, Hongkongers, Filipinos, Australians and even Nepali security guards have all been sent packing.

But now, with unemployment at a very low 2.8 per cent and only 9,300 people without jobs, the city is again booming and help is wanted. Casino revenues are up 67.5 per cent so far this year, companies are hiring and developers are expanding. But all of them are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit workers needed to build and staff their businesses.

All casino dealers have long been required to be local residents.

In addition to creating well over 10,000 temporary construction jobs, Sands' new 6,000-room hotel complex and a HK$14.1 billion Cotai casino resort being constructed by Galaxy Entertainment Group will together employ more than 20,000 full-time casino, hotel and other service staff when they open next year.

"The opening of these properties will also have a multiplier effect, creating jobs in other sectors of the economy, too," said Professor Davis Fong, the director of the Institute for the Study of Commercial Gaming at the University of Macau.

Just before May 1, the government announced a "one for one" foreign-to-local-labour policy for construction workers as Macau clearly does not have enough local manpower to meet the demand that the Cotai projects represent.

Leven said that based on the number of local builders available, Sands' new Cotai resort would probably employ about 30 per cent local construction workers at its peak.
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Old August 19th, 2010, 12:47 PM   #137
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INTERVIEW: Las Vegas Sands Struggles To Hire In Macau To Expand Ops
12 August 2010

HONG KONG (Dow Jones)--Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS) is struggling to find labor to complete a long-delayed US$4 billion expansion project in Macau, the world's largest gambling market, and needs to up headcount at its Cotai project seven-fold to get the project done.

But an official at the company's Sands China Ltd. (1928.HK) unit, which runs its Macau operations, said it still aims to open a new casino and three hotels across from its landmark Venetian resort in the third quarter next year.

In an interview with Dow Jones Newswires, Sands China Acting Chief Executive Mike Leven said the company has just shy of 1,300 in total on site at the project, well under the 10,000 workers needed when construction reaches its peak, but local regulations will make it tough to get the people it needs.

The company acknowledges that it made a mistake starting construction on the massive casino resort project, whose construction was halted in November 2008 at the height of the global financial crisis, without yet having financing in place. "We put a lot of people out of work," Leven said. Leven is also chief operating officer at Las Vegas Sands. Sands said it resumed construction on the site in March this year.

To protect its local workforce, Macau's government has said that one local construction worker must be employed for every worker brought onto a project from outside Macau, but given Macau's small work force and low unemployment rate, Sands China, as well as its rival Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. (0027.HK), who is also building on Cotai, are having a tough time hiring the necessary labor.

Sands China wants to build a better relationship with the people and government of Macau, said Leven. The company's aggressive expansion plans, which include building an even larger casino across the street from the Venetian, have appeared to conflict with the government's calls for sustainable development.

However, Sands China has also made significant efforts to bring convention, hotel, and non-casino entertainment business to Macau, another one of the government's objectives.

Sands China is also looking for top management, which it has had trouble keeping. "We have a reputation for senior executives who haven't lasted that long," he conceded.

In July, Sands China said it terminated the employment of former chief executive Steve Jacobs, who led the company to record breaking results in the second quarter and left amid strains with Las Vegas Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson. Several other top executives such as Frank McFadden have also left the Macau casino operator in recent years after relatively short tenures.

Leven wouldn't clarify if Jacobs had been fired with cause. Attempts to contact the former executive have been unsuccessful. A building attendant at his Hong Kong apartment said he had handed over the unit and returned to the U.S. last week.

Leven said Sands China hopes to have its new chief executive, preferably an Asian, in place by the end of 2010. The company wants someone with Asia experience who is "culturally sensitive," he said, adding that the person would not necessarily have to be a casino or hospitality executive.
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Old August 22nd, 2010, 09:22 AM   #138
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Wynn Macau 1st-Half Net Doubles As Gambling Revenue Soars
20 August 2010


Source : http://www.pbase.com/agostinho

HONG KONG (Dow Jones)--Wynn Macau Ltd. (1128.HK) said Friday its first-half net profit more than doubled, driven by sharp growth in Macau's casino-gambling revenue and the opening of the company's new Encore property in April.

The casino operator, which listed in Hong Kong in October, said its net profit for the six months ended June 30 was HK$1.91 billion ($245.7 million), up from HK$903.7 million a year earlier.

Operating revenue rose 52% to HK$10.1 billion from HK$6.66 billion.

Wynn Macau and its peers have benefited from Macau's surging gambling revenue, which jumped 70% in July from a year earlier to MOP16.3 billion ($2 billion), as visitors to the Chinese gambling enclave rose despite Beijing's efforts to cool the mainland economy.

Though Wynn Macau is generally favored by analysts for its solid track record and premier brand name, some have recently expressed concerns about a slip in the company's market share, particularly as rivals Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. (0027.HK) and Sands China Ltd. (1928.HK) move ahead with construction of their massive new casino resorts.

Citigroup analyst Anil Daswani, who is unique in rating Wynn Macau his "top sell" among Macau gambling stocks, said the operator fell to fifth place among the territory's six casino license holders in terms of market share in the first 15 days of August, which "is somewhat disappointing for an operator who opened a new property just three months ago."

He said based on the bank's sources the casino operator accounted for 13% of the Macau casino market in the first half of August, compared with 15% in July.

The Wynn Resorts Ltd. (WYNN) unit opened a US$550 million expansion of its Wynn Macau casino several months ago and has stated its intention to start construction on a resort in Macau's Cotai area, one of the gambling industry's most lucrative growth centers, as soon as next year.

But Credit Suisse analyst Gabriel Chan wrote in a recent report that it will take another three to four years before the Cotai project makes any meaningful earnings contribution.

Galaxy plans to open its Cotai resort early next year, while Sands China is targeting a third-quarter 2011 opening. However, Macau's tight labor policy is making it difficult for operators to hire sufficient construction workers, increasing the risk the projects could be delayed.

Wynn Macau didn't recommend a first-half dividend.

Parent company Wynn Resorts said last month its second-quarter profit more than doubled because of strong earnings growth in Macau. Wynn Macau reported at that time that its second-quarter net profit rose to US$132.5 million from US$63.27 million a year earlier based on International Financial Reporting Standards.
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Old August 23rd, 2010, 08:44 PM   #139
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Macau's new skyline - lots of skyscraper casino resorts :

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Old August 24th, 2010, 12:32 PM   #140
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FitzPatrick to take a loss at Macau casino
22 August 2010
The Sunday Times

SEAN FITZPATRICK, the bankrupt former chairman of Anglo Irish Bank, is poised to drop more than two-thirds of his investment in a casino in Macau.

Irish investors, including FitzPatrick and clients of Claret Capital, have been offered just 32c on the dollar to exit an investment in the Fisherman's Wharf casino and theme park.

Sources said investors had already got some returns from the casino.

Macau Legend founder David Chow Kam Fai is believed to have made an offer to buy out the investors last month. The offer is the latest in a series of attempts by international investors to exit the project.

The proceeds from the sale of FitzPatrick's investment will be directed to his creditors.

Merrill Lynch and US hedge funds Och-Ziff and TPG-Axon purchased 45% of Chow's Macau Legends, which includes the Fishermen's Wharf theme park, Macau Landmark hotel and its attached Pharaoh's casino in 2007.

The investors put $390m (¤307m) into the development preference shares.

FitzPatrick and the other Claret backers invested through Merrill. Three separate Claret Macau Legends investment partnerships are listed in the Irish Companies Office, but it is not known how much was raised through these vehicles.

Other high net worth individuals to back the scheme included David Ross, the co-founder of Carphone Warehouse and Siger, an investment fund connected to the king of Morocco.

The Fisherman's Wharf development was the first theme park on the Chinese-owned territory and includes a 40-metre high erupting volcano, a Roman Colosseum-inspired amphitheatre, Ming dynasty palace and Arabian fort.

The investment was seen as a short-term one and the international backers were expected to make a speedy return when the business floated on the Hong Kong stock exchange. The planned flotation was scuppered by the global financial crisis.

The loss-making development has also been hit by the arrival of Las Vegas casino companies, including Wynn Resorts.
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