Las Vegas Sands reaffirms commitment to Marina Bay Sands project

Las Vegas Sands said it is committed to completing the development of the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort in Singapore.

Concerns had been raised about the company’s ability to finish the US$4 billion development after news broke out that it was struggling with a shortage of cash.

In a statement on Friday, Sands said it met with the Singapore government this week and gave the assurance that it will see the Marina Bay Sands project through.

It said the meeting covered a range of subjects, such as the pace of construction of the hotel towers in the resort and the strong response to the marketing efforts by Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Tourism Board to bring more conventions, exhibitions, and corporate meetings to Singapore.

Sands also said it has complied with regulatory requirements that will allow it to have up to 1,000 gaming tables in the resort’s casino – up from the original figure of 600 tables.

The company said it has received more than 10,000 responses from Singapore job-seekers to its joint recruitment initiative with the National Trades Union Congress’ (NTUC) Employment and Employability Institute and the Singapore Workforce Development Agency.

Sand’s statement came as banks which had provided loans for the project said all signs showed that it is on track. DBS said it has not had any indication that work on the project is faltering.

DBS is one of 40 banks that formed a syndicate to fund the Marina Bay Sands casino development, which is estimated to cost more than four billion US dollars.

“All signals I’m getting from the management of Las Vegas Sands is that they intend to finish the project and move on,” DBS chief executive Richard Stanley said at a news conference on the bank’s third-quarter earnings.

“I have to accept what they say and I have seen in recent days a strong commitment to the project from Las Vegas Sands… There’s been no default, there’s been no indication of default,” he said, adding there was no need to provide for loan provisions.

“As of now, all the equity commitments have been made, the project is proceeding in pace.”

Citi Singapore, which is also providing loans for the project, said the long-term viability of Marina Bay Sands has not changed.

Citi’s head of corporate banking, Silas Lee, said the fundamentals of the project still stand although short-term uncertainty is expected given the current market conditions.

According to reports, Sands held talks this week with the Singapore government over the Marina Bay project.

The Singapore Tourism Board said last month that it was in talks with Marina Bay Sands to facilitate the successful completion of the project.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 7 Nov 2008

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