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Old September 19th, 2009, 02:12 PM   #81
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Old October 14th, 2009, 07:08 AM   #82
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Developer goes back to basics
30 September 2009
SCMP

Nearly a year after global gaming giant Las Vegas Sands Corp suspended work on two expansion projects on Macau's Cotai Strip and brought the city's explosive construction activity to a halt, a developer believes the key to picking up the pieces in Macau's property sector is in "going back to basics".

Hong Kong-based Telok Macau Real Estate Fund I, which describes itself as a "boutique closed-end opportunistic investment fund", says that the shattering experience of seeing what happened when Las Vegas Sands pulled the plug on its Macau construction programme, has taught it to adopt a "more resilient business model of focusing on local demand".

"Before the announcement from Las Vegas Sands, major developers focused on building large glamour projects when they came to Macau," said Genevia Lam, a vice-president of Telok Real Estate Partners, the investment manager of Telok Macau Real Estate Fund.

"They ignored the reality that these luxury apartments were beyond the reach of the general public."

Telok Real Estate Partners was founded in 1976 and, including its Macau "Verde" development now under construction, has a total of US$400 million in assets under management, comprising mainly retail properties in the United States.

As a consequence of the Macau focus on glamour projects, the market was flooded with new luxury residential units, measuring from 1,200 to 2,700 square feet and priced at upwards of HK$3 million each in anticipation of growing overseas demand, Lam said.

"That put them beyond the budget of the great majority of first-time homebuyers," she said.

To get back to basics and serve a local end-user demand, Telok Macau Real Estate Fund is building its second residential project, Verde, to be offered for private sale, followed by public sales later.

Units will be priced between HK$1.3 million and HK$3.5 million or at an average of HK$3,000 per square foot.

The seven-storey Verde, a single residential block with 68 one to two-bedroom flats between 424 and 1,150 sq ft, has a total development cost of HK$88 million and is scheduled to be completed in October next year.

Lam said the fund's positive experience with its first project, Loft-iTO, had reassured it that demand for smaller units was strong. Loft-iTO was a renovation project which converted 30 old units into furnished flats that were fully taken up at monthly leases of HK$4,200 per month and upwards when it was released 18 months ago.

"It proved to us that the business model was right as many expatriate employees are looking for units at monthly rentals of HK$3,800 to HK$6,000 against the background of an economy which remains depressed," said Lam. "We believe the selling price of the Verde units will also prove attractive."

Martin Sim, a Malaysian expatriate who has worked in a head-hunting consultancy firm in Macau for 1-1/2 years, is one of the tenants of Loft-iTO and says he was attracted by its flexible lease terms.

He moved from an 800 sq ft flat to a 650 sq ft unit at Loft-iTO a year ago for a monthly rental of HK$6,500. That was the same as he had been paying, but the move brought other advantages.

"As the new apartment is within walking distance of my office, I can save HK$1,000 on commuting costs. Also, though it is more expensive per square foot, it is fully furnished and is nicely designed.

"I can also use the rooftop for barbecues and it is close to food markets and surrounding shops," said Sim, who has now renewed his lease for another six months.

Ronald Cheung Yat-fai, the chief executive of Midland Realty (Macau), said there were fewer than 10 such small-sized new developments on the market.

"When we show our clients units offering better quality, lots of them are three-bedroom units of 1,700 sq ft. They joked that they are not looking for a place to play baseball in, just to sleep," he said.

To save costs by sharing the rent required finding suitable flat mates, added Cheung, and this was not always easy. "So small units will become sought after," he said.

Cheung predicted that mass residential prices in Macau would rise to between HK$3,500 and HK$4,000 per square foot from the present average of HK$2,800 per square foot.

Jeff Wong, the head of residential at Jones Lang LaSalle, said residential prices in Macau remained some 30 per cent below the market peak in December 2007.

Jones Lang LaSalle is the marketing consultant for Verde and Wong said the project would benefit from the Macau government's interest subsidy and mortgage scheme to encourage ownership.

Meanwhile, casino operator Las Vegas Sands has planned to launch a US$2.5 billion initial public offering in Hong Kong to repay debt and restart stalled casino projects in Macau and says it hopes to resume its Macau construction plans before the end of the year.
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Old October 17th, 2009, 08:39 AM   #83
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Possible Gambling Restrictions Could Damp Macau Growth
14 October 2009
Dow Jones

The full impact of new efforts aimed at regulating the size of Macau's gambling industry isn't yet known, but one thing appears clear: the breakneck growth of Macau's recent past is unlikely to return anytime soon.

The Macau government said Monday it would review the size of the gambling industry, including the number of gambling tables in the city, but offered few details and no timeline.

On Tuesday, Ambrose So, chief executive of SJM Holdings Ltd., which owns more than half of Macau's 33 casinos, said all six holders of casino licenses in Macau 'reached a consensus that the gaming industry should not expand without any limits.' He added that 'the government is inviting proposals from the operators' on how to control the size of the industry.

Mr. So stressed that the gambling industry should grow 'at a healthy and sustainable rate.'

A spokesperson for local casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. said Tuesday that 'we fully support this proactive government-led initiative,' saying it would 'ensure that Macau will achieve long-term sustainable growth and that the market be developed in an orderly and managed fashion.'

Aaron Fischer, a Hong Kong-based analyst with CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets, says it's inevitable that Macau's explosive growth in recent years, which he calculates at an annualized rate of 29% over the past six years, will end.

'We'll be reverting back to more normalized, yet still impressive growth,' he says, of about 15-20% per year, based on a multiple of income growth among mainland Chinese.

Some believe Macau's current casino operators could benefit from government efforts to rein in excess growth. 'Any kind of restrictions on new capacity is helpful to protecting existing casinos there,' said Joseph Greff, an analyst with JP Morgan.

Stanley Ho, who ran a gambling monopoly in Macau for four decades and controls SJM, has previously suggested that Macau's government set a cap of 1,000 gambling tables for each of the six gambling concession-holders.

Macau currently has 4,390 tables, over 1,400 of which are located in Mr. Ho's SJM casinos, according to Citigroup estimates, with another 100 or so coming in the next few months. So new limits could help SJM maintain an edge if it is allowed to maintain its existing capacity. If it isn't, SJM might have to close down some of its older tables, Mr. Greff notes.

Steve Wynn, chairman of Wynn Resorts Ltd., said in discussions with some of his executives last week that he mentioned 1,500 tables as a possible cap, though he said that was just a very rough estimate and not an official proposal. That would still give Wynn, which currently has 380 tables, plenty of room to grow.

Hong Kong-listed shares of SJM fell 3.7% in trading Tuesday to close at HK$4.43 a share, while Wynn Macau Ltd. recovered from an early morning dip to close at HK$10.88 a share, up 1.1% on the day.

Las Vegas Sands Corp., which operates the massive Venetian Macao casino-resort, operates about 1,300 tables in Macau, according to Citigroup, with another 300 set to come on the market in coming years.

Sands is preparing a Hong Kong listing of its Macau operations. A major selling point of that IPO is expected to be the company's prospects in the Cotai area of Macau that Sands chairman Sheldon Adelson has long championed as a growth driver. Sands halted construction last year on two major projects there that would add even more tables to Sands' portfolio, choosing instead to focus on its Marina Bay project in Singapore.

A Sands spokesman declined comment ahead of its coming IPO.

The new efforts to regulate Macau's gambling industry come after previous restrictions limiting arrivals from mainland China were eased, boosting business for the casinos after a rough period. The unpredictability of these policy moves has emerged as a source of risk for operators trying to exploit Macau's proximity to mainland China.
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Old November 3rd, 2009, 04:30 PM   #84
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Macau's black-faced spoonbill at risk from key delta works
1 November 2009
SCMP

Macau's only wintering site for the endangered black-faced spoonbill is at risk, with construction of transport links to Hengqin island expected to start soon. The island, just 200 metres from Cotai, has been earmarked as a base for co-operation between Guangdong, Macau and Hong Kong.

A decade ago, the mangroves were rescued from reclamation work for the land needed to build the Cotai casino strip and were replanted at the current site under the Lotus Bridge between Macau and Hengqin, which is part of Guangdong.

But even though Macau officials have recognised the eight-hectare site as an "ecological protection zone", a railway line and a cross-harbour tunnel will soon be built in the area.

Joseph Lam Tak-va, director of the Macau Association for Ecological Study, said the work could ruin the ecologically precious mangroves and would damage the habitat for the black-faced spoonbill.

"Noise, welding light and waste from the construction work could damage the ecosystem of the mangrove," Lam said. "It would be an irreversible loss to Macau if the black-faced spoonbills stopped coming."

There are only about 2,000 black-faced spoonbills in the world and 50 of them winter in Macau's mangroves. In Hong Kong, the birds are commonly seen in the Wetland Park in Yuen Long and the Mai Po nature reserve.

An annual global census released in February showed that the population in Hong Kong had dropped for the first time in nearly a decade. The number of black-faced spoonbills in the city this year dropped by 9 per cent, to 335.

Planning officials from the central government and Guangdong met in Macau on Wednesday to explain the strategic importance of developing Hengqin, an 87 square kilometre island administered by Zhuhai .

The State Council in August approved a plan to develop Hengqin. Beijing has told Macau to diversify its gambling-dominated economy, but the city faces a shortage of land for non-casino use. A key aim of Hengqin's development is to provide Macau with the land for economic diversification.

A railway will be built along the Lotus Bridge to connect Macau with a planned Guangzhou-Zhuhai rail link and thus to the mainland's network. A station is being built next to the bridge for Macau's light-rail system. A cross-harbour tunnel will be built to link Cotai with a new University of Macau campus on Hengqin.

Macau officials have indicated that the two infrastructure projects will begin soon, although dates have yet to be decided.

With the flurry of activity centred on development, protection of the mangroves has been ignored.

At a media briefing on Wednesday a planning official said the Macau government cared about conservation, but gave no details about how it would protect the mangroves.

Wong Chan-tong, director of Macau's transport and public works minister's office, was asked how the mangrove could be protected.

He said: "It's vital to have a seamless connection between Macau's rail system and that of the mainland. The government attaches great importance to the balance between development and conservation. The Environmental Bureau will try to minimise the projects' impact."

The construction of Hong Kong's Lok Ma Chau spur line, a rail link to Shenzhen, was initially planned to cut through part of the city's wetlands. But strong opposition from environmentalists led to its rerouting. However, it is hard for Macau's construction of cross-border links to bypass the mangroves due to the city's shortage of land.

Lam suggested the government use ecological screens to separate the mangroves from construction works.

"It won't be difficult to build eco-screens using live plants and materials made out of plants," he said.

Lam called on the government to launch a public consultation on how to protect the mangroves before pressing ahead with the projects.

The Cotai casino strip was built on reclaimed land between Taipa Island and Coloane Island. Landfill work started before the 1999 handover and threatened to ruin the mangroves to the south of Taipa by cutting them off from seawater.

From 1999 to 2002, government workers moved thousands of plants from the dying mangrove area to the current site. Mangroves are ecologically valuable as they protect coastal areas from erosion, storm surges and tsunami. They serve as filters since their root system slows down tidal water to allow sediment to settle.

Regarded as a Macau icon, the black-faced spoonbill became the mascot for the 2nd Asian Indoor Games held in the city in 2007.

In Hong Kong, black-faced spoonbills are a protected species.
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Old November 3rd, 2009, 06:48 PM   #85
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Macau probably isn't a "lesser known city", but I don't think we have a dedicated thread to that city.. so here goes:

http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com...pload_id=12654
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CASINO! is set to lead the way for a new area of casino resorts in Macau, China

Gensler's 7.5 million sq ft project, consisting of 4,000 hotel rooms, 200 residential units, casino, retail mall, convention meeting rooms, and theatre, CASINO! pushes the current trend of casino resort design to a new level of contemporary architecture.

The building’s form is a response to the programmatic challenges given by the client to keep the interior casino space column-free, and to have a bold, memorable presence on the main strip. Historically, casino forms have been driven by an attempt to keep the gaming space open. This has led to a formulaic architectural diagram: placing the casino in the center and pushing hotel towers out to the periphery. CASINO! completely redefines this casino design formula by creating an “X” shape in plan directly over the gaming space. The towers pull away from the perimeter edge of the site, thus setting back the main mass of the building from the strip. This has the dual purpose of creating a more dynamic perspective from the strip, while simultaneously acknowledging and embracing the park directly across the street.

To keep the interior gaming space column-free, the towers push up in the center, creating two 80-meter tall arches that span over the casino / retail space below. To expose the tower legs, the podium is cut back from the site edge, carving out a smooth concave form to meet the strip. The entire project, both interior and exterior, seeks inventive, bold architectural moves.






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Old November 3rd, 2009, 09:24 PM   #86
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thats truly amazgin
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Old November 10th, 2009, 07:08 PM   #87
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City of dreams faces nightmare of water rationing
10 November 2009
The Times

Macau, Asia's foremost den of neonsoaked excess and sleazy glamour, has expanded to the brink of catastrophe and may be forced to ration drinking water as reservoirs run dry.

Indeed, to the horror of big casino operators, there are signs that non-essential supplies may be cut off as early as this weekend as authorities struggle to keep non-toxic water flowing through the taps.

Even the briefest spell without water would be a devastating blow to a hotel industry that has just installed thousands of luxury bathtubs and to a city whose GDP is derived almost entirely from opulence-hungry visitors.

Some forecasts suggest that Macau may have only ten days of fresh water left. Stocks of bottled water may have to be shipped in unless a deal can be struck with water companies in Guangdong province — suppliers who are already under intense strain to keep Hong Kong's taps running as the water shortage takes hold.

Casino operators have not been told what to do as drought day approaches. A construction boom over the past four years has propelled Macau past Las Vegas to become the world's biggest gambling centre and several of the newest resorts feature immense waterworks.

The City of Dreams has a sprawling wave pool as its centrepiece, while the Venetian boasts three indoor canals and an outdoor lagoon sufficient to float 51 gondolas.

The looming crisis could not come at a worse time for the Macau unit of Las Vegas Sands, which plans to raise nearly $4 billion (£2.4 billion) through a listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The operator of the Venetian, credited with Macau's transformation into a Vegasstyle destination, was forced to halt construction on a colossal project last year as the credit crunch bit. The offering, being pitched to investors in London, will allow the company to resume building work.

Analysts at CLSA, a brokerage that covers Macau's gaming industry, said that the government of the special administrative region — the other is Hong Kong — was likely to step in to do whatever was necessary to protect its main revenue source from drought.

But Macau's usual water sources are in trouble. Reservoirs across the Chinese border in Zhuhai, which normally supply the gaming hub, have been ravaged by a drought that has affected a vast sweep of southern China and exposed the fragility of the country's water system. Years of mismanagement have come back to haunt China, a country where pollution, illegal dumping, logging and mass urbanisation have left a deadly legacy for freshwater supplies.

Unlike Hong Kong, which struck a deal last year with Guandong province that would guarantee water supplies "even in a drought", Macau has less visible contingency plans in place. Some MPs have said there are, in reality, none.
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Old November 11th, 2009, 06:31 PM   #88
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By 2233445566 from skyscrapers.cn :

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Old November 12th, 2009, 06:02 PM   #89
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Galaxy ups budget 40 pct for mega-resort in Macau

HONG KONG, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Galaxy Entertainment , one of six gambling license holders in the Chinese enclave of Macau, has raised the estimated cost of its mega project in the emerging Cotai Strip by 40 percent, media said on Thursday.

The company now expects the project will cost about HK$14.1 billion ($1.8 billion) due to design changes, from a previous estimate of HK$10 billion, the South China Morning Post reported.

Galaxy, which is controlled by the family of Lui Che-woo, is seeking new funding for the project, which will include three hotels with 2,200 rooms on the reclaimed land.

The project is on an area known as the Cotai strip alongside other mega projects operated by U.S. gaming giant Las Vegas Sands and local heavyweight Melco Crown . Promoters say Cotai could become Asia's equivalent of the Las Vegas Strip.

Galaxy officials said on Wednesday the new resort will have an opening date of the first quarter of 2011, implying construction could soon resume at full speed after a slowdown last year during the financial crisis.

They said the budget increase is due to a change in scope for the project, which will include Galaxy, Okura and Banyan Tree-branded hotels and a series of swimming pools atop a casino podium. The resort would also feature an artificial beach with 350 tonnes of white sand.

A resumption of normal construction would come as Galaxy rival Sands prepares an IPO for its Macau properties that could raise more than $3 billion.

Sands already operates the Venetian resort in Cotai, but suspended construction last year on several other mega projects in the area to conserve cash at the height of the financial crisis. It hopes to use money from the IPO and other sources to resume some construction in the near term.
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Old November 15th, 2009, 06:37 AM   #90
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Macau's Cotai Sees Revival of Building Boom
12 November 2009
The Wall Street Journal

HONG KONG -- The stalled casino-and-hotel building boom in Macau's once-barren Cotai area is back on track, bringing closer to reality the dream of recreating the Las Vegas Strip in mainland China's backyard.

Sheldon Adelson's Las Vegas Sands Corp., which already operates the enormous Venetian Macao casino-hotel in Cotai, will resume construction on an even larger project there in January, according to people close to the company. That project is slated to add 13.3 million square feet of gambling space, conference halls and Shangri-La, Traders and Sheraton hotels by June 2011, these people said.

Work on the project ground to a halt last fall as global financial turmoil hit Macau's gambling revenues and dented the company's cash flow.

On Wednesday, Hong Kong-based Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd., another of Macau's six casino license holders, said it would aim to launch its own 5.9 million-square foot integrated resort project in the first quarter of 2011 after it delayed the project last November citing market conditions. The US$1.82 billion Galaxy Macau resort will feature 2,200 hotel rooms, 600 gambling tables and what the company calls the world's largest rooftop wave pool.

The reviving of both projects is a reflection of the suddenly improved fortunes in Macau, the world's largest gambling market and the only place in China where casinos are legal. Even as Las Vegas and Atlantic City continue to show year-on-year declines, Macau has produced three consecutive months of record-breaking gambling revenues. It earned US$3.72 billion from gambling revenues in October alone.

The new projects could lead to a glut of hotel rooms and put pressure on casino operators' profit margins.

"I'm a long-term believer in the Cotai story, but all these properties are opening at about the same time," says Gabriel Chan, Hong Kong-based casino analyst for Credit Suisse. He says as many as 8,000 rooms could come on line in the space of a few months, adding to the existing supply of about 5,000 hotel rooms currently on Cotai, shocking the market.

In addition, Macau's government is attempting to ratchet back the hyper-growth of previous years as concerns grow about the social strains caused by excessive reliance on gambling for the city's growth. Last month, Macau's top gambling official said the government was raising the entry-age for casinos and considering a cap on the number of gambling tables.

The renewed plans by Las Vegas Sands and Galaxy would create four massive casino-resort complexes within walking distance of one another on Cotai. The revival of the projects adds significant momentum to the development of a stretch of reclaimed land that both Mr. Adelson and rival Steve Wynn regularly trumpet as the global gambling industry's most promising growth opportunity.

Wynn Macau Ltd. is awaiting approval to lease a 52-acre parcel of land in Cotai; Mr. Wynn has said he hopes to begin work there as soon as next spring.

Meanwhile, Mr. Adelson, the area's biggest booster, is trying to have the words "Cotai Strip" registered as a trademark, hoping to capture some of the buzz that surrounds the Las Vegas Strip.

After Mr. Adelson opened the Venetian Macao there in August 2007, nearly two years passed before gambling scion Lawrence Ho, the son of local gambling tycoon Stanley Ho, opened his City of Dreams casino-resort across the road.

Analysts and Macau watchers still say the area needs more critical mass to draw business away from Macau's peninsula -- the traditional gambling center that is home to the Wynn Macau, the MGM Grand Macau and Stanley Ho's 20 casinos.

Operators say that while Macau's peninsula is a bastion of hard-core gamblers, Cotai's megaresorts will help Macau grow as a diversified, family-friendly tourist destination -- one with longer lengths of stay than the current average of about 1.4 days. Promised infrastructure plans, including a light-rail system and a second ferry terminal, would make Cotai even more formidable, says Aaron Fischer, an analyst for CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets.

As part of its revived plans, Las Vegas Sands will hire 12,000 to 13,000 construction workers over the next 12 to 18 months to restart work on its stalled project, which currently has its concrete shell and some ceiling-work finished, according to the person close to the company.

The company is also seeking to raise as much as $3.83 billion from an initial public offering in Hong Kong for its Macau assets. It plans to use roughly $500 million from that offering to finance Macau construction, the person close to the company said. Much of the additional money raised through the IPO is expected to go toward paying down debt and paying off intercorporate loans.

Las Vegas Sands operates casinos in Las Vegas, Bethlehem, Pa., and Macau. The company is also planning to open a $5 billion resort in Singapore next year.
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Old November 24th, 2009, 06:58 PM   #91
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Cotai gains as building boom restarts in Macau
Casino hotels embark on expansion overdrive

23 November 2009
South China Morning Post

A year after the financial crisis put the brakes on several resort developments in Macau, the city is now set to resume a building boom that will largely shift the balance of new casino projects towards the Cotai area.

Occupancy levels and room rates have recovered in recent months as the traffic of Macau-bound travellers rebounded and monthly casino revenues shot to record levels. Still, the risk of oversupply looms as a series of massive projects in the pipeline is set to push the city's total stock of hotel rooms up 42 per cent to 26,884 rooms over the next two years, says Bill Lerner, an analyst at Las Vegas-based Union Gaming.

The latest entry to an increasingly crowded hotel market in Macau is an 800-room, twin tower Grand Hyatt that opened this month at Melco Crown Entertainment's US$2.1 billion City of Dreams, adding to the resort's Crown and Hard Rock hotels, which have 300 rooms each.

By offering three hotels at different price points within the same complex, Melco Crown is attempting to leverage "a diversity of choice instead of one massive themed resort", said City of Dreams senior vice-president of operations Michael French.

"We are coming out of a recession and people have a lot of pent-up demand," said French. "Our struggle in Cotai is convincing people on the Macau peninsula to headquarter here during their stay."

Recent trends suggest Macau's casino hotels have turned a corner and are back on track. Hotel occupancy across the city has recovered from the six-year low of 59.4 per cent seen in May, and stood between 72-80 per cent in August and September.

Rates and occupancy at the Venetian Macao, the city's largest hotel property with 3,000 rooms, saw a significant uptick in the three months to the end of September. Its average revenue per available room recovered to US$175 during the period from a record-low US$153 in the previous quarter. Occupancy rose to 88.1 per cent, up from 76.2 per cent.

French and others said more competition from new projects on Cotai would only help add to the area's pull, despite the enormity of some of the future casino resorts.

Venetian owner Las Vegas Sands Corp this month said it would use new loans and proceeds from its HK$19.41 billion Hong Kong share offering to finish work on a US$3.7 billion, 6,000-room Cotai mega resort it will open in phases from mid-2011.

Also this month, Galaxy Entertainment raised the budget for its own Cotai project to HK$14.1 billion and set a first-quarter 2011 opening date for the resort, which would include three hotels covering 2,200 rooms.

"Supply begets demand," Las Vegas Sands chairman and majority shareholder Sheldon Adelson told reporters on November 15. "The propensity of the Asian people, particularly the Chinese, to play is such that we don't see a limit on the horizon."
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Old November 24th, 2009, 07:46 PM   #92
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Any recent photos of the 'Arc of Triumph'? It should be topped out by now.
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Old November 26th, 2009, 05:24 PM   #93
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Macau To Support Hydro Project To Ensure Water Supply - Xinhua
26 November 2009

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

Macau and China signed an agreement Thursday under which Macau will provide CNY800 million to support the Datengxia Hydroelectric Project in China's Guangxi province, aiming to safeguard Macau's long-term water supply, Xinhua news agency reported Thursday.

The funds will mainly be used for the relocation of residents and soil and water conservation in areas affected by the project's construction, the report said.

Lau Si Io, Macau's secretary for transport and public works, said the project will cost CNY 25 billion and take nine years to complete, the report said.
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Old November 29th, 2009, 05:36 PM   #94
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MACAO LOGS OVER 10,000 RESIDENTIAL UNITS UNDER CONSTRUCTION IN Q3
23 November 2009
Asia Pulse

MACAO, Nov. 23 Asia Pulse - Macao saw more than 10,000 residential units being constructed during the third quarter of 2009, according to the figures released on Saturday by the city's Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau.

There were a total of 83 private buildings under construction by the end of the third quarter, which will provide up to 10,000 residential units, 338 commercial units and 10 office units, the figures showed.

Another 198 private building projects were being examined by the Bureau by the end of the third quarter, which have a gross building areas of 3.143 million square meters. Once completed, these buildings can provide some 22,000 residential units and seven hundred commercial units.

According to the latest figures from Macao's Statistics and Census Service, the average transaction price of Macao's residential units rose by 27.6 percent quarter-to-quarter to 24,154 patacas (3,057 U.S. dollars) per square meter of usable area in the third quarter.
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Old December 2nd, 2009, 04:47 PM   #95
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Las Vegas Sands' Hong Kong IPO Flops
Sands China closed 10.2% below its IPO price as investors remain wary of gaming tycoon Sheldon Adelson's ambitious plans for his Macau properties
1 December 2009
BusinessWeek

In keeping with tradition at the Hong Kong stock exchange, the Nov. 30 debut of Sheldon Adelson's Las Vegas Sands Macao spin-off was toasted with mid-morning Champagne. He had reason to celebrate: Only a year ago, as the Las Vegas billionaire fought off creditors and was forced to suspend construction on new casino properties to preserve cash, people were wondering if Adelson had overplayed his hand in China's gambling haven.

The $2.5 billion initial public offering of Sands China Ltd.comes as a vindication of sorts for Adelson. The festive mood on the trading floor didn't last long, though. Within minutes of the opening bell, Sands China shares dropped 15%. By the end of trading the stock closed 10.2% lower than its offering price of $1.34 per share, even as shares of other casino operators, including Wynn Macau and SJM Holdings, closed higher.

Worse still for Adelson, the first-day decline may be the least of his worries. Ever since winning a Macao license in 2002, the gaming tycoon has trumpeted his vision of transforming a seedy former Portuguese colony into a Las Vegas clone with luxury hotels, wholesome entertainment, and packed convention halls. But his "if you build it they will come" approach has yet to pay off. Nongaming revenues account for just 14% of Sands China's sales, compared with about 50% for Las Vegas Sands back home. There are plenty of empty seats at the company's purpose-built theater for Cirque du Soleil shows, as many gamblers -- of whom more than 50% hail from China -- prefer to leave the wife and kids at home.

"lots of execution risks"

The singing gondoliers at the mammoth retail mall attached to the Venetian in Macao have also done little to inspire shoppers to open their wallets. That makes it more difficult for Sands China to sell off its mall properties, a long-stated goal. In contrast, the Louis Vuitton (LVMH.PA) outlet in Wynn Macau has the highest sales per square foot of any of its outlets in the world, thanks to its downtown location and modest size.

The stock's disappointing debut did not come as a surprise to many who observed that shares of Wynn Macau, the Hong Kong-traded spin-off of Wynn Resorts (WYNN), have also traded below their IPO price recently after raising $1.63 billion on Oct. 9. "I appreciate that Sands has a longer-term growth story in the next five years, but between now and then there are lots of execution risks," says Gabriel Chan, gaming analyst at Credit Suisse. "That's why I think the IPO was overpriced."

Those risks involve possible cost overruns or further delays in the construction of casino and hotel properties adjacent to the 3,000-room Venetian Macau and Four Seasons Hotel, Cotai Strip, a patch of reclaimed land that boasts little but casinos and an airport. The lack of attractions has prevented Cotai from achieving a critical mass of visitors. To do so, Adelson and others must spend billions more building additional properties, knowing a payoff may take several years. "It's a chicken-and-egg situation," says Chan.

China Sands also suffered the fate of being the last of four Macao casino operators to list in Hong Kong, offering investors plenty of ways to get exposure to Macao's dynamic growth prospects. Gaming revenues hit a monthly record of $1.59 billion in October, up 42% from a year earlier and nearly 18% from September. Investors looking to take advantage of that growth can choose from Wynn Macau, Melco International Development (MPEL), Galaxy Entertainment, and SJM Holdings, which is controlled by 88-year-old Stanley Ho, who brought Macao gaming back in the 1960s. SJM, which enjoyed a four-decade-long monopoly before Macao liberalized the gaming sector in 2002, has managed to claw back market share this year from rivals by attracting a bigger share of mass-market Chinese gamblers who don't go to Macao for the frills offered by the likes of Las Vegas Sands. That helped strengthen SJM's position as the leader in gross revenues.

The IPO funds will allow Sands China to resume construction of its new properties in Macao, while proceeds from the parent company's 23.2% stake will give Adelson some breathing room as he rushes to finish the $5.4 billion Marina Bay Sands set to open in Singapore in the first half of next year.
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Old December 3rd, 2009, 05:05 PM   #96
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Over half of reclaimed land "earmarked for public facilities": Macao official
1 December 2009

MACAO, Dec 1 (Xinhua) -- Over half of Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) government's future land and reclamation areas approved by the central government have been earmarked for the development of public facilities, the local Macao Post Daily reported Tuesday.

The SAR government would set aside "suitable areas" of the reclaimed land for the development of industries in line with its economic diversification goals, as well as for the construction of public housing units, Secretary for Transport and Public Works Lau Si Io was quoted as saying. The public facilities will include transport infrastructure and green spaces.

The local government announced on Monday the central government's approval of its proposed 3.61-square-kilometer land reclamation projects for the creation of "new urban zones" in line with environmental protection requirements.

According to Lau, the actual land reclamation area will be about 3.5 square km, covering five different areas. The land reclamation project will raise Macao's land area by 12.3 percent, from 29.2 square km to 32.8 square km.

Lau did not say when the land reclamation project will get off the land.
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Old December 6th, 2009, 07:28 PM   #97
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Shun Tak To Gain From Macau Reclamation Plan -JPM
1 December 2009

0257 GMT [Dow Jones] STOCK CALL: JPMorgan keeps Shun Tak (0242.HK) at Overweight as property prices in Macau have remained firm, stock trading at over 40% discount to NAV. No price target given. Says Macau's proposed reclamation plan to expand land by 12%, used for public facilities, green areas, for next 2 decades improves infrastructure, housing supply "so that the city can have sustainable long-term growth." Says, plan won't put pressure on Macau property prices in short-term, but offers long-term opportunities for Shun Tak to replenish land bank. Stock +3.0% at HK$5.15. (JYC)
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Old December 12th, 2009, 10:06 PM   #98
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Timetable for Macau LRT
9 December 2009
The Standard

Macau will have a light rail system connecting the peninsula with Taipa Island and the Cotai Strip in four years, it was disclosed yesterday.

Construction will start soon on the light rapid transit system, which will eventually be extended to include Hengqin Island, an area destined to become a major education base for Macau and neighboring Zhuhai.

There is also a plan to eventually link the LRT system to the future Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge.

Macau transport infrastructure office consultant Michael Lam Soi- hoi told a Pearl River Delta conference in Hong Kong that the 7.5 billion pataca (HK$7.28 billion) phase one of the railway will be completed in 2014. He said the Macau government may subsidize the project so the railway can start operating sooner and costs can be recouped more quickly.

While fare levels have yet to be decided, Lam said it is expected to be between four and six patacas, which will be sufficient to recover the cost within a relatively short period.

``The government is now looking into the feasibility of different fare levels. We expect it will stay in the red in the first few years, but we hope to be in the black by 2020,'' he said.

The Macau government currently subsidizes public bus fares.

The Macau Post Daily reported last week that the government had proposed two sets of fares for the first phase. It said travel within the Macau peninsula will cost four patacas, while trips between the peninsula and Taipa will cost two more patacas. An alternative proposal puts the fares at five and seven patacas.

Based on current cost estimates, the subsidy for early operations could range between 20 million and 110 million patacas a year.

Tenders are now being called for the supply of rolling stock and systems, with a March 12 deadline.

The project, first announced in 2007, will have 21 stations along a 21-kilometer track in the first phase and cost 7.5 billion patacas, almost 80 percent higher than its initial estimate.

Passenger capacity will reach 14,000 at peak hours in 2020.
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Old December 14th, 2009, 12:37 AM   #99
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Rendering of One Central Towers.



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Old December 14th, 2009, 06:31 AM   #100
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INTERVIEW-UPDATE 1-Melco Crown sees no equity-raising plans

HONG KONG, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Macau casino operator Melco Crown Entertainment does not plan to raise capital through the equity market, its chief financial officer said, thwarting speculation that the firm would have to raise funds in the near term.

Shares of Melco Crown, a joint venture between Hong Kong-listed Melco International Development Ltd. and Australia's Crown Ltd , have nearly halved since hitting their highest level in over a year on Sept. 23 on concerns of potential fund-raising.

"I will tell you this today...we will not be raising more equity to replace debt, which is what people are speculating we will do and which is what is putting pressure on our share price," CFO Simon Dewhurst told Reuters in an interview.

"My two shareholders won't take dilution and neither should any of our existing shareholders either," he said.

Instead, the firm, which has seen lacklustre performance at its six-month-old casino resort, would refinance its debt through a possible combination of fixed-coupon, long-term bonds and bank debt that is set to be completed by early to mid-2010, he said.

Melco Crown was founded by Lawrence Ho, son of Macau gambling tycoon Stanley Ho, and Australian billionaire James Packer, son of late media tycoon Kerry Packer.

In June, the firm, which had an overall market share of about 17 percent of Macau's gambling market in the third quarter, opened its $2.1 billion "City of Dreams" mega-casino resort on the Cotai Strip, a dusty stretch of reclaimed land developers are promoting as Asia's answer to Las Vegas' neon alley.

COMFORTABLE WITH DEBT

"This company, at its current operating levels, can comfortably carry $1.5 billion-$2 billion worth of debt," Dewhurst said. "If it's any less than that, we have an inefficient capital structure.

Melco Crown missed expectations with its third-quarter adjusted EBITDA of $55.6 million, due to weaker-than-expected revenues at the City of Dreams, even though the results were a huge improvement from EBITDA of $20.8 million in the same period in 2008.

"If the City of Dreams is not going to see any ramp-up from now till 2011, that would be a big disaster," Credit Suisse analyst Gabriel Chan told Reuters before the interview. "With Galaxy opening their casino in 2011 and sites 5 and 6 coming on, (Sands China's upcoming casino resorts), there would be cannibalisation among all these properties."

Macau casino revenues could rise 20 to 25 percent by the end of 2010 from 2009 levels, on the back of strong economic growth in neighbouring China, Dewhurst said.

"If we assume that China is growing at 10 percent year-on-year, the gaming industry in Macau will grow for the next 20 years at 20 percent," Dewhurst said. "I have never found a better proxy for consumer behaviour in China than the Macau gambling story."

Melco Crown's stock has risen about 29 percent so far this year. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> has risen about 38 percent while shares of Galaxy Entertainment Group have more than tripled in the year to date.
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