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October 15, 2009

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Sands betting on November IPO

LAS Vegas Sands, which is seeking to raise up to US$2.5 billion by listing its Macau assets on the Hong Kong stock exchange, could launch its initial public offering by late November, the South China Morning Post reported yesterday.

The issue would follow Wynn Macau's successful market debut last week, which showed the appetite for gambling stocks was strong despite high valuations.

The reported plan also comes as Macau is considering rules to impose limits on table numbers at casinos and to raise the age for gambling from 18 to 21. Some analysts said that would brighten the outlook for casinos in the world's fastest-growing gambling market by limiting oversupply.

Sands wants to have its listing hearing at the Hong Kong stock exchange by the end of October, the newspaper said.

The casino giant, which operates two casinos in the Chinese gambling enclave of Macau, expects to complete the offering in about four weeks after receiving regulatory approval for a share offering and listing on the exchange.

The combination of a global recession and the collapse in credit markets brought Sands perilously close to defaulting on its debt, but a recent agreement with Macau lenders cleared the way to raise new capital.

In September, Sands secured commitments to raise up to US$600 million through the sale of exchangeable bonds, which will have to be swapped for common shares in the Macau unit after the IPO.


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