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Old August 27th, 2010, 06:49 PM   #141
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Sands delays Macau casino project due to labour shortage
27 August 2010
AFP

The Macau unit of Sheldon Adelson's Las Vegas Sands announced Friday a further delay in opening its glitzy four billion dollar casino resort in the city due to a shortage of construction workers.

Sands China, which already runs the Venetian Macau, the Four Seasons and Sands Macau, is planning a casino resort in the former Portuguese enclave turned gambling haven featuring 6,000 luxury and mid-scale hotel rooms.

But Macau has in recent months tightened restrictions on immigrant labour due to pressure from home-grown labour groups, including banning foreigners with only tourist visas from working in the city.

"Due to matters beyond the company's control, we have faced challenges acquiring the construction labour that we need quickly enough to be able to meet our original development and opening deadlines," Sands China said in a statement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

It added that the company estimated it would take about 16 months to finish the first phase, "once we have sufficient labour to ramp up construction activities to requisite levels".

The first phase of the project will now open in the Cotai Strip in the fourth quarter of 2011, and the second phase six months after that, the statement said.

Adelson earlier said he expected the first phase to open in 2011, without being more specific.

The project was earlier brought to a halt during the financial crisis due to financing problems.

Macau, which was handed back to China in 1999, is the only Chinese city where casino gambling is allowed. It has overtaken Las Vegas in terms of gaming revenue after the sector was opened to foreign competition in 2002.
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Old August 31st, 2010, 08:53 AM   #142
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SJM eyes Cotai land as net soars 364pc
31 August 2010
South China Morning Post

All bets are on in Macau, with Stanley Ho Hung-sun's SJM Holdings leading casino operators in booking a 364 per cent surge in first-half net profit and revealing it is in talks to acquire new land on the Cotai strip.

High-rolling gamblers from the mainland fuelled the windfall.

SJM more than doubled the number of VIP baccarat tables it operates during the period - to 436 units from 204 - which more than doubled its VIP chip sales - to HK$188.67 billion from HK$82 billion in the same period last year.

Profit rose to HK$1.57 billion from HK$338 million, in line with surging earnings at rival operators including Sands China and Wynn Macau.

SJM's first-half casino revenue rose 79.3 per cent to HK$26.52 billion, as the Macau company for the first time overtook casino revenue on the entire Las Vegas Strip.

SJM also revealed it is in talks to acquire land on the Cotai strip, which is shaping up to be the future centre of Macau's gaming industry but where the company lacks a footprint. SJM applied to the Macau government more than two years ago for rights to develop two plots of land on Cotai - a 10,000 square metre site near the stalled Macao Studio City project, and a second larger but more remote site to the northeast of the Macau East Asian Games Dome.

The company said it was still waiting on a formal land grant for the plots, but added it had "entered into discussions regarding potential co-operation with owners of a site adjacent to one of these parcels".

SJM did not identify who it is negotiating with, but they most likely would be the owners of the troubled Studio City project - eSun Holdings, Singapore's CapitaLand and US private equity-backed New Cotai.

The would-be Studio City developers broke ground in 2007 on a massive site near the Lotus Bridge border crossing into Zhuhai. They planned to open a casino resort last year with four hotels and a Playboy club, but failed to come up with financing.

The land remains undeveloped except for piling and the owners have been locked in a legal battle in Hong Kong since October of last year.

Meanwhile, Melco International Development, the holding company for casino assets controlled by Ho's son, Lawrence Ho Yau-lung, said losses narrowed in the first half following the opening of the City of Dreams casino resort complex.

Melco International, which owns 33.4 per cent of Nasdaq-listed casino operator Melco Crown Entertainment, booked a loss of HK$218.2 million, down from HK$811.36 million a year ago.
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Old September 5th, 2010, 11:56 PM   #143
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Old September 18th, 2010, 09:44 AM   #144
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US$1b light railway up and running in Macau by 2014
17 September 2010
South China Morning Post

The Macau government will spend US$1 billion to build a light railway by 2014 and continue expansion thereafter, according to Michael Lam Soi-hoi, a transport infrastructure consultant with the city's government.

"In the next 10 years, a big change will come to Macau. Lots of railways and roads will be built," said Lam at the South China Transport Infrastructure conference in Shenzhen on Wednesday.

The US$1 billion would be spent on Phase I of the plan, which comprised two light rail lines and would start operation in 2014, Lam said.

One light railway line is a 9km route with 10 stations along the coast of the old city from the Border Gate to the A-Ma temple, which will be a 16.5-minute journey. The other is an 8km line with 11 stations in Taipa and Cotai, with a journey time of 17 minutes, which will connect Macau's international airport to the rest of the island.

At least two Phase I light railway stations would connect to the Guangzhou-Zhuhai Railway, enabling passengers to travel from Macau to Guangzhou in one hour, he said. "This will create a one-hour travel radius connecting Macau, Guangzhou and Hong Kong. This is part of a plan for seamless regional integration with the Pearl River Delta."

Macau's light railway would be linked to Guangzhou's high-speed railway and hence the national high-speed rail network, which will enable passengers to travel from Macau to Xiamen in four hours, from Macau to Wuhan in four hours and from Macau to Beijing in 10 hours, Lam said.

Phase II of the light railway system had been envisaged by the government but was still at the planning stage, he said. This will include a 5km light rail section that will connect with the Phase I light rail line, completing a loop around the old city. Other plans in Phase II include a cross-sea light railway between the old city and Taipa and a link to the Hong Kong-Macau-Zhuhai bridge, which is expected to start operating by the end of 2015.

However, preserving Macau's heritage buildings while constructing the light railway would be a challenge, Lam admitted.
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Old October 2nd, 2010, 12:30 PM   #145
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Old October 12th, 2010, 04:10 PM   #146
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Source : http://www.fotop.net/cchan

Lisboa Hotel Extension

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Old October 12th, 2010, 04:10 PM   #147
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Cotai Strip by jimmylau from dcareahk :

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Old October 19th, 2010, 08:53 AM   #148
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New Cotai Initiates Legal Proceedings Against Macau JV Partners In HK
14 October 2010

HONG KONG (Dow Jones)--A unit of New Cotai LLC said Thursday it started legal proceedings in Hong Kong against its joint-venture partners in a Macau casino resort project that has been stalled for more than three years amid escalating investor disputes.

New Cotai Entertainment LLC is suing eSun Holdings Ltd. (0571.HK) and its unit East Asia Satellite Television (Holdings) Ltd., as well as Singapore-listed CapitaLand Ltd. (C31.SG), for breach of contract, inducement of those breaches and unlawful conspiracy regarding the Macao Studio City project.

The lawsuit, which doesn't specify damages, comes after a Hong Kong court in July threw out a US$2.39 billion suit by East Asia 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, calling the claims "untenable." The suit alleged breach of a share-purchase agreement, among other claims.

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.

New Cotai became involved in the Macao Studio City project in December 2006, when it paid eSun about HK$1.3 billion for the rights to develop a casino within Macao Studio City that would be 100% owned by New Cotai, which would also have a 40% interest in the Macao Studio City joint venture, New Cotai Entertainment said.

ESun and CapitaLand own East Asia, which has the remaining 60% interest in the Macao Studio City joint venture.

ESun and Capitaland didn't immediately return calls seeking comment.
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Old October 20th, 2010, 02:40 PM   #149
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CapitaLand faces suit over Macau IR project
15 October 2010
Business Times Singapore

(SINGAPORE) A group of US investors led by former Las Vegas Sands executive David Friedman is suing its Asian partners including Singapore-listed CapitaLand over a stalled multi- billion-dollar casino-resort project: Macao Studio City.

CapitaLand is a 20 per cent minority shareholder in Macao Studio City on Cotai strip - Macau's Las Vegas Strip-styled boulevard. While saying that it will defend itself vigorously, CapitaLand also said it was indemnified against any losses arising from the lawsuit.

Originally scheduled to open last fall with Asia's first Playboy Mansion, the 6 million square foot project remains largely undeveloped because the US investors and Asian investors have been squabbling for the past three years over construction details and financing.

The integrated resort (IR) project was supposed to include Playboy Mansion Macao and a 920,000 sq ft luxury shopping mall built by Taubman Centers Inc, a US mall developer.

Both Playboy and Taubman pulled out last year.

According to a press release issued yesterday, an affiliate of New Cotai LLC, which is owned by a consortium of US investors, sued its joint-venture partner, East Asia Satellite Television (Holdings). The defendants also include East Asia's parents - Singapore's CapitaLand and eSun Holdings, a Hong Kong-based media and entertainment group run by tycoon Peter Lam.

East Asia holds a 60 per cent stake in Macao Studio City, while New Cotai owns the remaining 40 per cent. New Cotai paid eSun HK$1.3 billion (S$218.3 million) in 2006 for exclusive casino rights to develop and own a casino within the project.

A year later, Mr Friedman signed a deal with Macau gambling tycoon Stanley Ho's son, Lawrence, to operate a 500,000 sq ft casino under Lawrence Ho's Nasdaq-listed Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd.

New Cotai's affiliate New Cotai Entertainment filed claims over 'breach of contract, inducement of those breaches and unlawful conspiracy in relation to the Macao Studio City project', according to yesterday's statement.

The plaintiff seeks damages against eSun, CapitaLand and East Asia 'for their actions in connection with New Cotai Entertainment's casino rights', the statement said.

New Cotai, which has invested substantial sums in Macao City Studio, wants to see the project completed as soon as possible, the statement said.

According to yesterday's statement, New Cotai's directors also sued East Asia to be reimbursed for legal costs incurred in defending a separate lawsuit brought last October by East Asia.

Yesterday's lawsuit follows a July ruling by the High Court of Hong Kong that found that a substantial number of East Asia's claims were 'untenable' and therefore dismissed.

CapitaLand, in a statement issued yesterday, said it had not been served New Cotai's lawsuit and is 'therefore presently unable to comment'.

The Singapore real estate company said it believes that the alleged claim is 'without any merit and will defend it vigorously'.

CapitaLand also said it is indemnified by eSun against losses arising from lawsuits brought by New Cotai or other related parties in relation to Macao Studio City.
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Old October 24th, 2010, 05:48 AM   #150
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CapitaLand dragged into legal battle in Macau
22 October 2010
Business Times Singapore

(SINGAPORE) CapitaLand's foray into a casino resort project in Macau has run into legal headwinds.

The Singapore-listed real estate and hospitality company, which failed in 2007 to clinch either of the tenders to build Singapore's two integrated resorts, faces a lawsuit in connection with the proposed US$2.4 billion Macao Studio City.

A group of US investors led by former Las Vegas Sands executive David Friedman accused CapitaLand and others of hindering the casino's development in order to back out of what is now supposedly considered an unattractive investment because it doesn't have a direct stake in the casino.

A CapitaLand spokesman said the company isn't able to comment on the lawsuit because it hasn't been served. 'CapitaLand believes that the alleged claim is without any merit and will defend it vigorously,' the spokesman said.

Although CapitaLand doesn't have a direct stake in the gaming operations, the company and other owners of Macao Studio City were to enjoy an upside from the casino through leasing casino space to Friedman of New Cotai LLC and Nasdaq-listed Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. Gaming revenue is expected to be factored into rent starting in the fourth year of operations.

Originally scheduled to open last autumn with Asia's first Playboy Mansion, the six-million-square-foot project on Cotai strip - Macau's Las Vegas Strip-styled boulevard - remains vacant land following three years of squabbling between its US and Asian investors over construction details, ownership structure and financing.

Playboy and Taubman Centers Inc, a US mall developer that was to have built a 920,000-square-foot luxury shopping mall at Macao Studio City, pulled out last year. Complicating matters is the Macau government, which has threatened to take back the undeveloped land, casting concerns on the fate of the project.

An affiliate of New Cotai last week sued its joint venture partner, East Asia Satellite Television (Holdings), to recover lost earnings from the stalled casino project. The defendants also include East Asia's parents - CapitaLand and eSun Holdings, a Hong Kong-based media and entertainment group headed by tycoon Peter Lam.

CapitaLand, which to date invested $132 million for a 20 per cent stake, was accused of delaying the execution of a casino lease, thereby triggering a put option that would allow it to exit its joint venture with eSun 'without any significant loss', the suit said.

New Cotai, which to date invested US$250 million in Macao Studio City, claims the defendants repeatedly delayed signing the casino lease in order to force a renegotiation of the terms of their joint venture.

The defendants allegedly 'acted with the intention of achieving the objectives of increasing their return from the joint venture by giving (New Cotai) no choice but to renegotiate the first casino lease on terms more favourable . . . to the defendants', the suit said. The dispute centred on the way rents were to be calculated, the suit said.

According to the suit, CapitaLand believed it was entitled to higher rents because it had allegedly paid more than it expected for the 20 per cent stake.

But New Cotai argued that rents weren't supposed to be calculated based on 'the alternative definition of gross floor area', which included 'an allocated (but unspecified) share of the common parts' outside of the area it had elected to lease.

Goh Soon Khian, eSun's company secretary, said the company believes it has 'complied with all material obligations relevant to the joint venture'.

'The company intends vigorously to defend all unmeritorious claims brought by New Cotai Entertainment and/or New Cotai whether in relation to the proposed casino lease or other matters relating to the stalled Macao Studio City project,' Mr Goh said.

In addition, New Cotai's directors also sued East Asia to be reimbursed for legal costs incurred in defending a separate lawsuit brought last October by East Asia.

Last week's lawsuit follows a July ruling by the High Court of Hong Kong that found a substantial number of East Asia's claims were 'untenable' and therefore dismissed.
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Old October 26th, 2010, 05:23 PM   #151
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Galaxy says two executives have resigned
26 October 2010
The Wall Street Journal Asia

HONG KONG -- Two senior executives integral to Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd.'s nearly US$2 billion casino-resort project in Macau have resigned.

Steve Wolstenholme, chief operating officer of the Galaxy Macau project, and Jeff King, senior vice president of marketing for Galaxy Macau, will depart shortly, Galaxy said in a written statement Monday.

Mr. Wolstenholme, Galaxy Macau's top-ranked executive, and Mr. King are two of the four executives dedicated to the project who are listed on the company website's management page.

The casino operator, listed in Hong Kong, said the management changes won't affect the company's performance or its project, which is still set to open in early 2011.

Messrs. Wolstenholme and King couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

Galaxy said Mr. Wolstenholme resigned for personal reasons and will leave the company in November. Galaxy Entertainment President Mike Mecca will assume his duties in the interim, according to the statement.

The statement also said Raymond Yap, Galaxy's senior vice president of international premium market development, will take over Mr. King's duties while the company looks for a permanent successor.
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Old November 13th, 2010, 05:55 AM   #152
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No chips at resort eyed for Cotai strip
Angela Leong project to be family-oriented

13 November 2010
South China Morning Post

Angela Leong On-kei, the fourth wife of casino magnate Stanley Ho Hung-sun, is planning to develop a 10.4 billion pataca non-gaming resort and theme park on Macau's Cotai strip.

Leong, also a director of Ho's casino firm SJM Holdings and a Macau legislator, told Macau media on Thursday her privately held Macau Theme Park and Resort planned a three-phase development on a disused 200,000 square metre plot of land east of the dome built for the East Asian Games in 2005.

The massive project would include 6,000 three- to five-star hotel rooms, a family-oriented theme park with an indoor "beach" and swimming pool, cinemas, retail outlets and an equestrian parade ground. She said it would take nine years to build all three phases and work would start as soon as government approval was received.

Leong, the managing director of Macau Theme Park, said other participants in the project would include Li Chi-keung and Lee Wai-man, according to the Macao Daily News.

Li and Lee are both investors in VIP gambling junket organiser Golden Group. Li is also the chairman of the Macau Jockey Club and, alongside Leong, a director of Onshine Securities. Lee, also known as Lee Shiu-fook, is a former director of Hong Kong-listed Golden Resorts Group.

Leong's plans are the latest in a series of colourful proposed projects, backed by a range of influential would-be developers, announced for the disused site between the Macau East Asian Games Dome and the Coloane Island power station.

In 2004, a group of investors in Macau Theme Park, including Chui Sai-cheong, a legislator and brother to current Macau chief executive Fernando Chui Sai-on, proposed plans for a Japanese-themed resort development on the site that was to have opened by 2007.

The plans were revised in May 2005, according to the government's Official Gazette, when the project was split into a 106,000 sq metre hotel development and a 94,000 sq metre theme park.

In 2006, the government formally granted rights to Macau Theme Park to develop the hotel portion of the project and set the land premium at 230.97 million patacas. The developers, including two Tokyo investors, said their plans were focused on a "Hello Kitty" theme park. But construction failed to get off the ground.

By early 2007, British billionaire Richard Branson was in talks to build a US$3 billion casino resort on the site, but the talks failed to pan out.

In 2008, Chui's original Tokyo partners stepped down from the board of Macau Theme Park, and senior executives from the Oriental Press Group were briefly appointed as directors, according to Macau commercial registry filings.

It is unclear at what point Leong took control of Macau Theme Park. She declined this week to identify its other investors.
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Old November 19th, 2010, 01:22 PM   #153
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From riveting theater to best Peking Duck, I discovered new Macau
14 November 2010
Philippine Daily Inquirer

FIVE YEARS ago, I was touring a series of restored Macanese villas on the island of Taipa, south of Macau, when I saw cranes and earth-movers on reclaimed land across the bay. I asked a local what that was about, and he answered, “Ah, that's a new city.”

Today, I'm in my 20th-floor suite of the Crown Towers Hotel looking across at the Taipa villas. I am in a new city all right, the City of Dreams, a new three-hotel complex surrounding a massive casino and one spectacular theater built from the ground up for a “waterworld” extravaganza.

Other countries in the region have been opening or expanding their casino operations, but Macau still has the gaming edge.

It has an inexhaustible supply of mainland visitors that exponentially increases with a booming economy. It also had many years of the business and have now fine-tuned the gaming industry to an entertainment, shopping, fine dining and luxury hotel destination.

Something for every segment, even for me, satisfied with just a slot machine.

If you yearn for the dice but have children in tow, they're going to love Kids' City. This spacious playground has everything imaginable, from toddlers' corner, to slides and tunnels and arts and crafts.

Amazing theater

For technology buffs, there are the latest video games and for the culturally inspired, ballet lessons. A nearby “Bubble Theater” is free to all city visitors; it's a domed ceiling whose walls give a 360-degree visual extravaganza with lions leaping and dragons swirling about and lunging at you.

The city's entertainment centerpiece is an amazing theater called House of Dancing Water built specifically for a water-theme show with a cast of 80 of the most agile and athletic men and women from over 18 countries.

The story is in the fairy-tale genre; an evil queen in mythical kingdom imprisons a princess and a gallant stranger goes through death-defying leaps, three-story-high pool plunges, and some dancing, frees the princess and they live happily ever after.

For 70 riveting, nail-biting minutes the HK$ 2.5-billion extravaganza has the action-packed scenes of “Pirates of Penzance” meeting “Mad Max” meeting “Crouching Tiger.” But this time performed for real.

If there is a hint of Cirque du Soleil, it's because the creator and director Franco Dragone created many of the first Cirque extravaganzas. For this production, Mr. Dragone has topped anything he's done to date—a love story combined with physical and technological spectacle.

60-ft pool stage

Imagine the stage, in this theater in the round, dry at one instant and transforming immediately into a 60-ft pool (the largest in the world) with a whole Chinese pavilion and a pirate ship emerging from its depths.

Numerous winches from the ceiling tow dancers high above to do balletic leaps in the air and mercilessly dropped, like bungee jumpers, to just inches away from the stage floor.

At one point, all the performers dangle by their feet on one huge metal loop and, while in the air, move their bodies to and fro in a manner that would make the '30s choreographer Busby Berkeley weep.

The mouth-gaping, heart-stopping moment for the audience was the bike riders zooming and bolting up inclined platforms to fly, to even let go of their machines and, amazingly, somersault in the air. Gasps, screams and “Wows” were the sounds accompanying the roaring bikes. The audience applauded, wildly recognizing that these performers—stuntmen, divers and acrobats—were showing off years of practice, perfecting and pushing their sinewy bodies to the absolute limit.

Drunken Baby Pigeon

Outside the House of Dancing Water is the Boulevard, a wide meandering walkway on two floors with pricey boutiques and watch stores.

There's fine dining on the Boulevard and I lunched at Treasure Palace. Cantonese is the specialty and their luncheon array of delicate dim sums as well as their signature dishes, Superior Soup Dumpling and Drunken Baby Pigeon, lived up to their executive chef Tam Kwok Fung's Michelin Star rating.

For an even greater variety of meals, there's a food court and a coffee shop on the second floor.

Casinos with hotels in central Macau are indistinguishable; hotel lobbies have direct entrances to casinos. Not so in City of Dreams. The three hotels, Crown Towers, Hard Rock and Grand Hyatt Macau, were built with a distinct hotel identity, another successful feature at making City of Dreams a more eclectic destination.

When you're billeted in new high-end hotels, the basic accommodations (thread counts and plasma TV sizes) are imperceptible; the design aesthetic and features of each property become the distinctive elements.

At Crown Towers, the edgy, sleek design by the Australian firm Bates Smart in the lobby hints at a retro-oriental motif. My suite was the most spacious I've ever reviewed (60 sq m), with a retro carryover interior, floor-to-ceiling views of Cotai, walk-in closet, Aigner bath products and iPod docking station making the suite feel like home.

Really grand

The Grand Hyatt Macau projects its familiar worldwide frisson the minute you enter (http://macau.grand.hyatt.com). It is grand, its unlimited lobby ceiling supported by hexagonal columns, cloud motifs and water cascading down a giant hemisphere in the middle of the floor.

My guest room, like most of its suites, had a separate living room, with marvelous views including the 40-m swimming pool below. It's the polished steel light fixtures and the dominating dark wood throughout that exuded the Hyatt luxury look.

The Hard Rock Hotel is at the other end of the luxury spectrum. Its interior design is based on the premise that if you're a devotee to its cafés spread throughout the world, you'd most probably like to stay in its hotels as well. The check-in counter has for its back display greeting the line “Hello, I love you, won't you tell me your name,” from a Door's song.

Electric guitars from bands like Black Sabbath, Bon Jovi and even that of Michael Jackson's become framed artworks at the lobby and in various parts of the hotel.

There's a mid-century appeal in the suite furniture with pink bedsheets, Lucite lighting and martini mixers telling you to lighten up and have fun even if your rock concert groupie days are a distant memory.

Melco Crown Entertainment, which manages City of Dreams, had one more hotel property, the Altira, (www.altiramacau.com) which they wanted to show off a short ride away. There's a Chinese penchant for privacy and exclusivity evident in its 38th-floor check-in lobby with breathtaking views of Macau across the water, tucked-in gaming rooms exclusive to “high-rollers” and suites with round stone-crafted baths.

All the hotels have their own distinctive spa offerings and Altira's two-story spa has secured two consecutive Gold Awards (2009 and 2010) from the Forbes Travel Guide. Its treatments, spa products and design are all multi-awarded as well.

The hotel's authentic Japanese restaurants (a favorite of Melco CEO Lawrence Ho) and the Michelin-starred Italian restaurant completes this jewel of a hotel.

My farewell dinner was back at the Grand Hyatt's Beijing Kitchen, softly lit, contemporary in feel with Chinois hints on the grill-patterned wall lights. Hyatt excels in that no-nonsense but elegant-still look. I dined on an array of sumptuous Shanghainese appetizers and was bowled over by the Peking Duck. Theirs is imported from Beijing and cooked in the kitchen's traditional oven.

I've wandered the world, from HK to Vancouver and numerous Chinatowns in between, scouring for and noshing on their Peking Duck offerings. But I now say that this was the Peking Duck that must have truly excited the Emperor's palate. The mouth-melting duck skin alone was utterly sublime.

Here's the best value-added experience for Filipinos planning a trip to Macau and City of Dreams. This compact city has a slow-paced Iberian charm that we relate to easily and absent in nearby HK. Historically protected buildings, from Portuguese churches to municipal buildings, remind us of Old Manila. The Macanese have a manner, a grace, and delightful cuisine that resonate with us as well.

Best of all, it's the Filipinos, yes, the Filipino—countrymen and women, many working in hotels—pampered me. I didn't need a guide book. I got the best spa tips and suggested dining spots. I was served generous drinks with never-ending chicherias. I was pointed to the luckier slot machines. And though I protested, my suitcase was in their hands.

Filipino staff

My Macau trip was a thousand times enhanced by the wonderful Filipino staff and citizens I encountered there. And, if the various resorts and the Macau Tourism Board want more Filipinos to visit, they should not overlook this marketing plus because in the end, we take delight traveling and finding a familiar language and face to help and tell us the sights we should see.

Macao may have expanded its gaming and entertainment significantly in just five years but the city retains its historical charm zealously with heritage tourism in mind. The preserved Taipa villas and nearby old town was once a trek to go to but now is a stone's throw away from the City of Dreams, and with the new bridge, just 15 minutes away from central Macau.

Mandarin's House museum, lovingly and painstakingly restored for the past eight years, opened this year (www.wh.mo/mandarinhouse) in historic Lilau Square. This once rundown 1881 structure has become a showcase of conservation methods and is an absolute tourist must. Same with the nearby Dom Pedro V Theater, a 19th-century cultural landmark totally restored, and all the known sites, such as Senado Square and St. Paul Ruins, continue in its pristine state enjoyed daily by thousands of visitors.

Macau, despite the dizzying development pace, manages well to make sure its past is preserved, bringing in tourists dollars as well.

John L. Silva (johnsilva.blogspot.com) is an author and contributing writer.
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Old December 20th, 2010, 04:09 AM   #154
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Las Vegas Sands' Leven Says Macau Seeking Orderly Growth of Casino Resorts
Bloomberg

By Beth Jinks - Dec 19, 2010 Las Vegas Sands Corp., the biggest developer on Macau’s Cotai Strip, said recent curbs on land concessions signal the regional government is seeking more “orderly growth” of new casino resorts.

Macau, the only part of China where casinos are legal, is trying to avoid a repeat of 2008, when the financial crisis halted several projects and workers were laid off, Chief Operating Officer Mike Leven said in an interview in New York. Building projects consecutively rather than simultaneously may ease labor shortages and avoid periods of unemployment, he said.

Land rights for future projects will be subject to public auction, Jaime Carion, director of Macau’s Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau, said last week, according to the Macau Daily Times. Las Vegas Sands’ Hong Kong-listed Sands China Ltd. said on Dec. 2 the government rejected the company’s application to develop Cotai sites 7 and 8, a decision that may be appealed.

“They’re trying to manage growth in a healthy way,” Leven said. “They’re probably not going to allow them all to be built at once. When one gets built and gets close to opening, they’ll allow the next one to start construction, and it will open after the existing property ramps up.”

Macau also rejected casino company SJM Holdings Ltd.’s request for the same sites, the Wall Street Journal reported on Dec. 17.

Billionaire Sheldon Adelson, Sands’ founder and chief executive officer, has restarted his expansion in the world’s biggest casino center, where the company operates the Sands Macao, Venetian Macao and Four Seasons casino resorts. Construction has resumed on Cotai sites 5 and 6, where Sands is building St. Regis, Shangri-La, Sheraton and Traders resorts.

Site 3

Work stopped in late 2008 during the financial crisis. Adelson invested more than $1 billion of his family money in the company to eliminate bankruptcy concerns.

The company also has rights over site 3, the next area it has slated for new hotels and casinos. Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts Ltd. also plan casinos on Cotai to expand their existing presence in the territory.

Projects by Wynn, MGM and Sands’ site 3 may be the next three Cotai casinos allowed, Leven said.

“My feeling is Macau will allow it to grow, just not all at the same time,” Leven said.

Adelson, 77, envisions Cotai as China’s Las Vegas Strip, and has said he wants thousands of hotel rooms and new developments to create a convention hub and attract more mass- market vacationers.

Betting Big

Macau’s casino gambling revenue has jumped 57 percent to 169.5 billion patacas ($21.2 billion) this year through November, boosted by visitors from China’s mainland.

Hong Kong-based Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. is building a Cotai resort set to open next year after work slowed in 2008.

Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. opened its second Macau casino, City of Dreams, on Cotai in June 2009. Melco Crown is a joint venture between Lawrence Ho, son of Macau’s original casino monopoly holder, Stanley Ho, and James Packer’s Crown Ltd., Australia’s biggest casino owner. SJM is controlled by Stanley Ho.

Wynn Resorts, owner of the Wynn and Encore casinos in Las Vegas and Macau, is “ready to begin” site work on its first Cotai resort, CEO Steve Wynn said on a Nov. 2 earnings call. The project will cost $2 billion to $3 billion and open in 2015, he said.

MGM Resorts, the biggest casino operator on the Las Vegas Strip, plans to build its second Macau resort in Cotai, and will follow Wynn and Sands with a Hong Kong initial public offering. The MGM Grand Paradise SA is MGM’s joint venture with Stanley Ho’s daughter Pansy Ho.
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Old December 21st, 2010, 08:28 AM   #155
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impresionante realmente!
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Old December 23rd, 2010, 04:35 PM   #156
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Macau Rejects 1 SJM Cotai Request; Likely To Get Other Land 1st Quarter - Source
17 December 2010

HONG KONG -(Dow Jones)- The Macau government has rejected SJM Holdings Ltd.'s (0880.HK) application for the same land Sands China Ltd. (1928.HK) was denied earlier this month, leaving a key piece of land up for grabs in the world's largest gambling market.

The government said in a letter to SJM that the operator's plans to build a casino on Sites 7 and 8 didn't exempt it from a public tender, a person familiar with the matter said Friday. Sands China was told the same, people close to the situation said.

A spokeswoman for Macau's land department said Friday it had rejected both operators' proposals and that a public tender could be waived "when the concession is grounded in the public interest," namely developing Macau into a "world center for tourism and leisure," but that even in that case, the grant would need to be preceded by a public hearing.

However, SJM, which is controlled by gambling mogul Stanley Ho, is likely to secure land rights for another plot of land on Cotai in the first quarter of 2011, the person said.

The site is next to the Macau Dome and also next to land where a company controlled by Angela Leong, the fourth wife of Ho and an executive director of SJM, said it will invest MOP10.4 billion (US$1.3 billion) in a family-oriented theme park and hotel resort that doesn't have a casino. SJM is in talks with Leong to connect the properties and share operating facilities, the person said.

The first-quarter timeline represents a delay from SJM Chief Executive Ambrose So's earlier forecast. He said in September that land rights for planned casino projects in Cotai would likely be granted to SJM, Wynn Macau Ltd. (1128.HK) and MGM Macau by the end of 2010.

The news comes after the government this week reiterated it wouldn't approve new casino projects submitted after 2008, and also said it would no longer grant land for casino projects without a public tender once the new Land Law comes into effect.

The government's refusal to grant SJM rights to sites 7 and 8 without a public tender appears in line with its stated intention to increase the transparency of the land grant system, which was dealt a blow when Ao Man-long, Macau's former secretary for transportation and public works, was found guilty in 2008 of pocketing around US$100 million in kickbacks during his seven years in the appointed position.

However, some question the government's commitment to really improving the system. As the new land law, which the government started revising in 2008, won't likely come into effect until 2012, analysts say it is unlikely to affect the land grants for casino projects planned by SJM, Wynn Macau and MGM Macau, now expected to be awarded early next year.

The government is "taking too much time" to revise the law, said Macau legislator Jose Pereira Coutinho. "Before the law comes into effect, it's not appropriate to give land to the gaming operators."

Meanwhile, Leong's land, on which she will build six hotels and amenities such as shopping malls, amusement park rides, an indoor beach and wave pool, theater and an equestrian center, was granted ahead of the casino operators' land requests ostensibly as it is in line with the public interest and Beijing's and Macau's calls for Macau to diversify its economy away from gambling.

Leong, a member of Macau's legislative assembly, is also an executive director of SJM Holdings Ltd. (0880.HK), Macau's largest casino operator by revenue, and the head of the Macau Association of Gaming Promoters--the middlemen who bring high rollers to casinos. She acquired Macau Theme Park & Resort Ltd., which has been awarded the land, after Chui Sai-cheong, the brother of Macau's chief executive, left his position as a director of that company this past summer, according to another person familiar with the matter. Chui Sai-cheong claimed the valuable land since 2004 without building on it despite Macau's government urging those who have land to develop it or risk losing it.
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Old December 25th, 2010, 04:29 PM   #157
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Sands China: Macau Soon To OK Sale Of Shares In Apartment Co-Op
20 December 2010

HONG KONG (Dow Jones)--Sands China Ltd. (1928.HK) said Monday the Macau government indicated it would soon approve the company's request to sell shares in its Four Seasons-branded apartment-hotel in Cotai through a cooperative, which analysts said could generate US$1 billion for the company.

Word of the imminent approval comes at the end of a trying few weeks for Sands China. Earlier this month, the government rejected the company's application for rights to build on land in Cotai in which it had already sunk more than US$100 million. A week later police rounded up more than 100 suspected prostitutes at the company's flagship Venetian Macao casino resort while its Las Vegas-based chairman, Sheldon Adelson, was in town. The incidents prompted some analysts to wonder whether the company's relationship with the government had deteriorated.

The Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS) unit said it had received a letter from Macau's Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau saying "the process (to permit the apartment sales) is at its final proceeding."

Las Vegas Sands spokesman Ron Reese declined to give further details on the likely timing of the sale or expected proceeds.

Analysts said the apartment-hotel complex could be worth up to US$1 billion. Adelson said in October the project could generate up to US$1.4 billion in sales for the company.

"The company has been inquiring of prospective buyers over many months and has accelerated the inquiries to ascertain the viability of a concentrated sales effort starting after the first of the year," Adelson said in a statement Monday to the stock exchange.

CLSA analyst Aaron Fischer said: "We believe the sell down of the Four Seasons apartments would represent a major positive catalyst for the (company's) shares as proceeds could be up to US$1 billion, which would significantly improve the company's capital structure and increase the possibility of higher dividends--especially considering approval for the development of the sites 7 and 8 (in Cotai) was not provided."

But some analysts called attention to the vagueness of the announcement and expressed concern the approval might not come particularly soon, noting the company has been attempting to secure the go-ahead to sell the units for years.

They also wondered why the company didn't wait until it had obtained official approval before making a public announcement on the project. The company said it had to announce the news now because of Hong Kong Stock Exchange's disclosure rules.

"While the announcement is a positive, there is still uncertainty over exactly when the approvals will be received given how long it has already taken," said Macquarie analyst Gary Pinge.

Credit Suisse analyst Gabriel Chan said the project could face limitations such as sales being restricted to institutional investors only or rules on transfers.

Some industry observers questioned whether the government's apparent imminent approval might be a consolation prize following its decision to reject the company's land rights application.

Others said they were concerned the company's public announcement about the approval process could damage its relations with the government as the government previously withheld approval despite Sands China's optimistic public predictions about the project.
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Old December 26th, 2010, 11:55 AM   #158
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Some fantastic developments in Macau. I had no idea it was so happening!
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Old January 3rd, 2011, 05:43 AM   #159
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Mitsubishi Heavy wins Macau light-rail project
31 December 2010
South China Morning Post

After repeated delays, the Macau government yesterday officially awarded a controversial 4.69 billion pataca contract for its showcase light-rail project to Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

Macau's Transportation Infrastructure Office, known as GIT, has been vetting bids since April from three competing consortiums seeking to supply trains and related systems for the project, which has a total budget of 7.5 billion patacas.

Mitsubishi beat two rival bids by a partnership between Canada's Bombardier and China Road and Bridge Corporation (at 4.57 billion patacas) and a partnership between Germany's Siemens and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation or CCECC (at 6.28 billion patacas).

According to the official government tender, the winning bid should have been announced by last July with rail services operational by August 2014.

However, the tender process dragged on and was tinged with controversy after Macau legislator Jose Coutinho made repeated allegations that the GIT had pre-selected Mitsubishi as the winner in July.

The GIT repeatedly rejected the allegations, calling them "untrue".

In an August statement posted on its website, GIT said: "The tender evaluation is handled by an independent committee consisting of members from different departments. In addition, the tender evaluation process is in accordance with relevant legal procedures and guidelines provided by the Commission Against Corruption."

First proposed in 2003, the latest version of Macau's plans for a light-rail system unveiled last year calls for a budget of 7.5 billion patacas, up 79 per cent from previous estimates. The GIT plans the first phase of the light-rail transit system to begin service in 2014 with a capacity to move 8,000 passengers per hour per direction.

The route encompasses 21 stations, beginning at the Zhuhai border in the north, curving around the Lisboa casino hotel, crossing the Sai Van Bridge to Taipa and Cotai and ending at Macau International Airport.

But the tender has also been complicated by maintenance, repair and reinforcement issues relating to the Sai Van Bridge, which Mitsubishi, as the winning bidder, will now be required to address.

The 560 million pataca bridge was designed to carry vehicles on its upper deck and a rail line and emergency vehicle lanes on its lower deck.

But it later emerged that bridge contractor Chon Tit (Macau) Investment and Development, a unit of state-owned CCECC, won the tender to build the bridge after its general manager Chen Dongsheng paid 14 million patacas to former transport and public works secretary Ao Man-long.
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Old January 17th, 2011, 03:14 PM   #160
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Tycoon under fire over eviction of squatters
29 December 2010
SCMP

Hong Kong-based property tycoon Or Wai-sheun is embroiled in a row over the eviction of squatters in a slum clearance project in Macau carried out by a subsidiary.

A group of Macau activists arrived in Hong Kong yesterday to petition Or - known as the "Li Ka-shing of Macau" - at the head office of Kowloon Development, the company of which he is chairman.

Members of the New Macau Association, which is helping the squatters fight eviction, claimed some residents were forced to sleep in the street after being kicked out. They criticised Or for failing in his social responsibilities.

At the centre of the dispute is the recent clearance of the homes of 200 families on a 2.8-hectare squatter area in Ilha Verde, in the northwestern Macau peninsula, to make way for a public housing development.

Tasked with the clearance is Pak Lei Sun Development, a subsidiary of Polytec Asset Holdings of Hong Kong, which is controlled by Kowloon Development. The clearance is supposed to be complete this month.

The operation began about two months ago. Most of the residents have moved, but about six families who have been denied compensation or rehousing are still there, the association says.

Activist Jason Chao Teng-hei said: "The workers used dirty tricks and tore down their huts while they were at work. We complained to the police and the housing authorities but no action has been taken."

Pak Lei Sun Development denied the allegations but declined to comment further. In a letter to Or, the activists urged him to look into the issue, pay adequate compensation and ensure all residents were properly rehoused.

The Macau government promised to study the allegations and would ensure the clearance was conducted in a reasonable and legal way.
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