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Las Vegas Sands IPO disappoints in China

CASINO group Las Vegas Sands has seen lower than expected interest in the stock market float of its Macau business.<br /><br />Sands China, an offshoot of Las Vegas Sands, raised $2.5bn (&pound;1.51bn) through its initial public offering in Hong Kong, Chinese sources said.<br /><br />That was at the bottom of the range hoped for, but will ensure that Las Vegas Sands can now push ahead with a massive investment in Macau, the world&rsquo;s biggest casino market.<br /><br />The $2.5bn raised from investors, together with $1.75bn in loans to the company, will go to restarting its Cotai strip project, which was suspended in November 2008 due to the global economic downturn.<br /><br />Wynn Resorts, another Las Vegas casino group, recently spun off its own Macau unit.<br /><br />Sands China sold 1.87 bn shares, or about 24 per cent of its enlarged share capital, at HK$10.38 (81p) each, compared with a range of HK$10.38 to HK$13.88, according to reports.<br /><br />Gaming analyst Peter Pak of BOCI Research said: &ldquo;Investors are cautious about investing in Sands China, because the post-market performance of Wynn Macau was disappointing.&rdquo;<br /><br />Shares of Wynn Macau, which raised $1.87bn through its Hong Kong IPO this month, is trading seven per cent lower than its offering price of HK$10.08.<br /><br />Sands China, founded by billionaire Sheldon Adelson, could be valued at $10.8bn based on the low-end of its price range. Wynn Macau has a market value of $6.3bn.<br /><br />Sands was the first US casino operator to enter Macau in 2004 after the government opened the gambling market to outsiders.