Sands China, the Far East wing of Las Vegas Sands Corp, is applying to extend its loan facility for a second time. A source told Bloomberg that the original target of $3.5billion has now been increased to $3.7bn with the facility expected to close at the end of the month. It’s believed 10% of the loan was sold in general syndication to around 16 banks. This represents the second time that the casino business has extended its facility after they originally applied for the loan back in June. That included the option to take the loan up by an additional $1billion of which they have now taken some.
Why the extension though? When the loan was originally applied for, a statement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange explained the facility would “significantly reduce” interest expenses and strengthen financial stability. With expansion on the Cotai strip high on the Sands China list of “Things to do while you’re in Chinese territories” rising costs in this area are likely to be another reason for the increase. The current global economic downturn can also not be discounted.
Macau-based VIP junket operator Asia Entertainment & Resources (AERL) increased rolling chip turnover by 112% on last year to reflect the enclave’s entire economy. Rolling chip turnover topped a billion dollars for the first time as it reached $1.822bn after Macau’s gross gaming revenue had increased by 57% in the same month. AERL operates VIP rooms at a number of Macau’s most lavish venues included the Venetian Macau and Galaxy Macau.
AERL’s VIP services focus almost exclusively on the popular game of baccarat. The large proportion of young and rich VIPs in neighboring China means that the service doesn’t look like losing its luster any time soon. The next development could involve the online gambling industry with one junket already taking this path.