Las Vegas Sands Looking to Raise Billions

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Las Vegas Sands, the world's largest casino firm, is looking to raise $3 to $4 billion and is considering several options including an initial public offering of its Macau assets in Hong Kong. Company president and CEO Michael Leven said today in an interview in Singapore that the company will decide this month whether to list its shares.

The global casino industry has been hit hard by the state of the economy. Last fall Sands had to halt construction plans for new casinos in Macau. Analysts estimate the firm needs to raise about $1.5 to $2 billion to complete its developments there. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson says that Sands hopes to resume construction at the end of 2009, saying that, "we are at the trough of the recession... From this point on, I think we are going to see an improvement."

Further delays in construction have occurred in Singapore, where Sands is currently building a waterfront casino on the edge of the central business district. The Marina Bay Sands is now expected to open in either January or February next year instead of at end-2009 as earlier announced. The Singapore casino will cost $5.25 to $5.5 billion against an original forecast of $3.2 billion when the project was conceived.

Sands may also raise cash by selling stakes to private equity firms or getting construction companies involved in its projects to assemble their own financing. 

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