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LAS VEGAS-Sands China Ltd., the Macau operations of Las Vegas Sands Corp. raised approximately $2.4 billion over the weekend through an initial public offering in Hong Kong, according to a Monday SEC filing. The 1.87-billion- to 2.06-billion-share offering was priced at the bottom of its expected range of $1.34-$1.79 per share; Las Vegas Sands said it is assuming the over-allotment options will not be exercised.

A sell-out at the top end of the range would have generated $1.28 billion in additional proceeds. Enthusiasm in the offering is believed to have been tempered by the fact that the rival Wynn Macau is currently trading at 7% below its recent IPO price. Sands China will list on the Hong Kong stock exchange on Nov. 30.

Las Vegas Sands will use the proceeds, along with at least an additional $1.45 billion in recently committed bank financing for Sands China, to restart its Cotai Strip project in Macau, the only place in China where gambling is legal. The city is a one-hour ferry ride from Hong Kong.

Currently, Las Vegas Sands–now through Sands Macau–owns three operating casino resorts in Macau: the Venetian Macao, the Sands Macao and the Plaza. The three casino-resorts have a combined 3,554 hotel rooms and over 60 different restaurants and food outlets. Las Vegas Sands also owns CotaiArena, Macau’s largest entertainment venue and one of the largest convention and exhibition halls in Asia, and one of three major high-speed ferry companies operating between Hong Kong and Macau.

Sands Macau opened in 2004. Macau surpassed Las Vegas as the world’s largest gaming market in 2006. The Venetian Macau opened in 2007 and the Plaza opened in 2008. Las Vegas Sands suspended work on the Cotai Strip project in late 2008 in response to the global economic downturn. Last week, Las Vegas Sands made the initial $87.5-million payment for two of five additional parcels for its Cotai Strip project, which is envisioned as five interconnected resorts.

The company’s next project is a 13-million-square-foot, estimated $4.3-billion resort that is expected to get back underway in January and be completed in three phases. The $2-billion first phase, which is partially complete, will include 3,700 rooms in two hotel towers [flying Sheraton, Shangri-La and Traders flags], 300,000 square feet of casino area and approximately 1.2 million square feet consisting of retail, entertainment and dining facilities, meeting space and a multi-purpose theater. The first phase also includes the structural work for an adjacent 2,300-room Sheraton hotel tower that would be fit out in the $190-million second phase along with some of the remaining retail facilities. The $443-million third phase is slated to include a luxury St. Regis-branded hotel and condo-hotel tower.

After that, it plans to develop one of the three remaining parcels with an additional 3,900 branded hotel rooms, and then it would develop the final two parcels with a project of similar size and scope to what is to be built on the first two parcels.

Las Vegas Sands Corp. says it now controls approximately 29.7% of the post-issuance capital base of Sands China Ltd. In addition to the offering, Las Vegas Sands said it issued 497.8 million shares in connection with “the mandatory and automatic” exchange of $600 million of exchangeable bonds due 2014, and allotted approximately 22.2 million shares to “certain parties (or their designees) in connection with a confidential settlement agreement dated June 3, 2009.”

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