Las Vegas Sands Subsidiary Closes $1.75B in Financing for Cotai Strip Project in Macau

The credit markets haven't defrosted completely, but one wouldn't know it looking at Las Vegas Sands Corp.'s latest coup.

May 21, 2010
By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor

The credit markets haven’t defrosted completely, but one wouldn’t know it looking at Las Vegas Sands Corp.’s latest coup. The company’s majority-owned subsidiary, Sands China Ltd., just wrapped up $1.75 billion in financing that will put construction of the first phase of the behemoth Cotai Strip casino resort project in Macau, China back on course.

The first phase of the Cotai Strip endeavor involves three hotels carrying the flags of the Shangri-La, Traders and Sheraton hotel brands, and will account for an aggregate 3,700 guestrooms. Gaming space, retail offerings and meeting and convention facilities are also part of the initial stage.

Hindered by the freezing of the credit markets, Sands China found itself, like so many other developers of projects ranging in size from tiny to gargantuan, left out in the cold by lenders. Few had anticipated such a situation would arise so soon after the glory days of 2007 when banks were practically throwing loans at developers. As a result of the abrupt change, Sands China was forced to bring construction at the Cotai Strip development to a halt in November 2008. Now, the tide has turned.

Sands China’s new financing package comes in the form of a $750 million term loan that has a time limit–it is available until July 16, 2010–a $750 billion term loan available on a delayed draw schedule until November 17, 2011, and a $250 million revolving credit facility available until April 17, 2015.

A large international syndicate of lenders, U.S. institutions among them, came together to provide the nearly two billion-dollars in funding for the Cotai Strip project’s first phase. The contingent of global coordinators, co-syndication agents and bookrunners consists of Goldman Sachs Lending Partners LLC; BNP Paribas, Hong Kong Branch; Citibank, N.A.; Citigroup Global Markets Asia Ltd.; Citicorp Financial Services Ltd. and Citibank, N.A., Hong Kong Branch; UBS AG, Hong Kong Branch and Barclays Capital. Banco Nacional Ultramarino, S.A., DBS Bank Ltd. and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Ltd. are the lead arrangers and bookrunners, while The Bank of Nova Scotia is acting as the administrative agent.

Phase two of the project will bring an additional 2,300 guestrooms contained within another Sheraton hotel tower to the project, in addition to other amenities. If all goes as planned, the first phase of the Cotai Strip project will debut in the third quarter of 2011, with phase two reaching completion six months later.