Macau: Lady luck turns east
Macau has plenty to celebrate: gambling revenues are up, conference business is growing and investors have piled into a pair of high-profile IPOs. But the wheel of fortune has its wobbles. Chloe Hayward reports.
Hitting the jackpot: the brand new Grand Lisboa
"I’ve flown from Hong Kong to Las Vegas more times than I care to remember in the past 12 months," says the head of capital markets at one of Asia’s leading investment banks. "But it’s been worth every air mile." It’s no wonder the banker is jet-lagged but happy. Local subsidiaries of international casino operators have accounted for the largest loan and two of the biggest IPOs in Asia, Macau’s gaming industry has grown to three times the size of Las Vegas’s, and the conference and exhibition business has bucked global trends to record modest revenue growth.
In October, Wynn Resorts completed a $1.87 billion IPO in Hong Kong of 27% of its Macau property, nearly doubling its initial target of $1 billion thanks to strong investor demand. Las Vegas Sands, owner of the Venetian Macau, followed suit on November 23 with a listing of 23.2% of its Sands China subsidiary. The group had already raised the bar for funding at the start of November, when it borrowed $1.75 billion in Asia’s biggest syndicated loan of 2009, and raised $2.5