$5.3b boost for Marina Bay Sands

Weaker US dollar pushing up cost for Las Vegas SandsLAS Vegas Sands (LVS) said that despite the constricted credit market, it has secured more than US$3.7 billion ($5.3 billion) in loans to build Marina Bay Sands, its proposed integrated resort in Singapore.

The financing package for the complex also includes a capital contribution of about US$558 million in equity from LVS, according to a United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) document filed last Friday.

Mr William Weidner, president and chief operating officer of LVS, said the company would likely not have been able to convince lenders if the project had been outside of Asia.

“We are lucky to have such a strong Singaporean economy as a backdrop,” he said. Mr Weidner said the cost of the Singapore project has increased slightly because of the weakened US dollar and the rise of building and material costs in Singapore’s booming economy. Although he declined to discuss cost details, according to last Friday’s SEC figures, the cost of the project could grow to as much as US$4.6 billion, up from the US$3.6 billion that was first announced.

The Singapore project includes plans for 2,500 hotel rooms; 1.2 million square feet of flexible meeting, convention and exhibition space; 1 million square feet of retail space; and three large entertainment venues.

The Marina Bay Sands is scheduled to open next year. The project represents Sands’ significant push into the Asian market. Last year, the Las Vegas-based company — led by Mr Sheldon Adelson — opened the Venetian Macao, a massive casino hotel in Macau. LVS plans to retire the debt five to eight years after the facility opens, Mr Weidner said. — THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Source : Today – 7 Jan 2008

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