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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Singapore won’t bail out Las Vegas Sands project in city

NEW DELHI: Singapore’s government won’t bail out the casino-resort being built by Las Vegas Sands Corp in the city-state’s downtown, said Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry S Iswaran.

Las Vegas Sands and its Singapore unit Marina Bay Sands didn’t sought a bailout from the government, he added. The government’s tourism board said Oct 29 it’s in talks with the company to “facilitate” the success of the Singapore resort. The stock rose 80% after the statement.

“There have been no requests for a government bailout from Marina Bay Sands and neither does the government intend to do one,” Iswaran said, according to a transcript of his comments to reporters in Singapore yesterday.

The success of Las Vegas Sands project is crucial for the city-state, which is counting on two casino-resorts to help double visitor arrivals and triple tourism spending by 2015. The Las Vegas casino operator said yesterday it will get a US$525 million (RM1.89 billion) investment from the family of chief executive officer Sheldon Adelson and plans to sell US$1.62 billion more in shares to raise cash and avoid bankruptcy.

“This has always been a commercial project,” Iswaran added. “The fundraising that Marina Bay Sands has done is an example of what they need to do in this environment in order to strengthen their balance sheet and be able to fund the relevant projects, and they have to do some prioritisation; that is what they have been doing, and I think it is the right thing.”

The casino operator said on Monday it will halt construction in Macau, where it earns two-thirds of revenue, to focus on its US$4 billion Singapore project.

Adelson, who owns about two-thirds of the company, was ranked the third-richest man in the US by Forbes magazine before the shares tumbled 95% this year. The casino owner needs the cash to avoid violating the terms of some US loans and triggering defaults that may force it into bankruptcy.

By Bloomberg

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