W Hotels To Open In Macau Studio City

Starwood has announced plans for a new W Hotel in that is scheduled to open in early 2009.

This new-build W hotel will be located within the complex, situated on , an area earmarked by the government to become one of the main gaming, and resort developments in the Special Administrative Region. W Studio City will make its debut offering 563 guest rooms.

W continues to extend beyond the boundaries of everyday travel, offering a magical mix of sexy destinations and sublime design,” said Ross Klein, president of Starwood’s Luxury Brands Group. “W marks our fourth property in China and promises to offer extraordinary experiences at every turn through the brand’s key lifestyle elements of provocative spaces, delightful indulgences and experiential surprises. From the Maldives to Milan, Hoboken to Hong Kong, W Hotels continues to go global as the influential and innovative lifestyle authority and we are proud to make a W destination.”

Starwood has also recently announced it will open a 4,000-room Sheraton Hotel, a 460-room St. Regis Hotel and over 400 St. Regis Residences on the strip in 2008 and 2009, respectively.

W Studio City will feature 563 rooms and suites, all outfitted with the W signature bed, plasma television and wireless Internet access. The W brand’s signature Living Room will offer a lounge-like atmosphere and other facilities will include a signature restaurant, W Cafe’, a Sweat workout facility, approximately 11,000 square feet of meeting space, and an outdoor heated pool.

“ Studio City brings together the best hotel partners in the world and we are excited to partner with Starwood to bring the W to ,” said Peter Lam, co-chairman of . “Our vision is to create a must-see, must-stay and must-return destination for leisure and business travelers around the world. Along with other hotel partners — not to mention the arrival of the — I firmly believe that Studio City will be an experience that visitors will want to return again and again.”

The Venetian Macao Winter Celebrations

With more than 6 million visitors since the opening in August, is expecting the venue to be a popular attraction over the Christmas period.

The Venetian launched its Christmas attractions, with amongst the many events making up this exciting promotion are ‘Gondola Rides with Santa’ at the Grand Canal, where you and your loved one can indulge yourselves in a romantic experience, with Santa Claus as your special companion,” a press release said.

Guests are also encouraged to make a wish at one of the three canals running through the Grand Canal shopping area. Coins will be collected and donated to the Cradle of Hope Association.

Gifts can also be donated to the association using bins placed throughout the shopping malls.

Shops and restaurants are also offering specials through the Christmas period.

The winter celebrations will finish at the end of Chinese New Year.

The venue is also counting down to the new year’s party which will see the Pussycat Dolls perform at the Venetian Arena.

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Winnie Out Of The Way Stanley Ho To List Sjm

Sociedade de Jogos de (SJM), the largest casino operator in , started bookbuilding yesterday for an IPO that aims to bring in between HK$3.85 billion and HK$5.1 billion ($494 million and $654 million). If the deal is completed, it will be the third largest IPO in Hong Kong this year after China Railway Construction Corporation and Want Want China Holdings.

However, SJM has trimmed its expectations quite significantly since its most recent attempt to go public in January when it was testing the market for a deal of up to $1 billion.

The price range has been set at between HK$3.08 and HK$4.08 a share. The 1.25 billion shares on offer are all primary and represent 25% of the company. The 15% greenshoe, if exercised, could bring a further 187.5 million shares into the deal and boost the total deal size to $752 million. The international offering accounts for 85% of the shares being offered, while an initial 15% has been earmarked for Hong Kong retail investors—up from the normal 10%, suggesting that the company is expecting the deal to be popular with the Hong Kong public. And it may well be right. In the past, Hong Hong investors have been known to come out in force specifically for companies that they are familiar with, as reports.

SJM runs 19 of ’s 29 casinos, and is top in terms of market share and gaming revenue. Across its venues it has 305 VIP gaming tables, 1,100 mass market gaming tables and 3,700 slot machines. Its origins can be traced back to Sociedade de Turismo e Diversoes de (STDM), the former monopoly that is controlled by gaming tycoon and which dominated gaming in the former Portuguese colony before the liberalisation of the industry in 2002.

The introduction of competition—including American market entrants, such as Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands—has proven a mixed blessing: the opening of large American casinos has helped to vastly increase the gaming revenue in the area, but at the expense of SJM’s market share. In 2005, SJM took 85% of ’s VIP gaming revenue and 58% of the mass market revenue, in 2007 this had dropped to 38% and 48% respectively. Despite the decreasing market share, SJM’s revenues have remained fairly stable at HK$30 billion to HK$34 billion per year. And the top line is expected to hit HK$42 billion in 2010, when a number of projects will be completed.

One research report notes that during the time it ran a monopoly, as STDM, “it neither felt strong competitive pressure nor the need to inject massive capital to upgrade its casinos when existing properties were generating strong recurring cashflow. But with the fierce competition from some of the world’s top casino operators, SJM has embarked upon a number of initiatives to bring its products into line with the competition.”

As part of this plan to expand, it has been building new properties. In February 2007, its new flagship casino, the Grand Lisboa, opened; and this February the casino at Ponte 16 opened its doors for business.

More properties are on the way. In the Lisboa district, it is building L’Hermitage, a club-style casino focusing on richer clients, which is due to be completed in the third quarter of 2008. In the same area, it is purchasing a 2,885 square metre plot of land for a future development. It also has plans for two developments on the , one to be completed in 2010, the other to be finished in 2012.

Of the proceeds raised during the IPO, 40% will be used for project funding, 50% will be used to purchase land for new developments and the remaining 10% go towards working capital.

More buildings and land increases the company’s exposure to ’s booming real estate sector and the intention is for the new projects to stop the gradual decrease in SJM’s Ebitda margin, which has narrowed from 12% in 2005 to 6% in 2007. The research report holds that margins will stabilise in 2008, and eventually rise to 7% as the company puts into place cost-saving measures and new mass-market service agreements.

SJM’s price range values the company at 10.1 to 13.4 times its predicted 2008 earnings, which is much cheaper than its major competitors. US-listed Las Vegas Sands is currently trading at 82 times 2008 estimates, and MGM and Wynn are trading at 22 times and 29 times respectively.

A recent report by Globalysis is bullish on ’s prospects in 2008: despite the concerns created by the downturn in the global economy, the research firm believes that will experience a 28.8% increase in gross gaming revenues. The reasons cited include the growth in the number of developments, an ever wealthier Chinese clientele, and some more punters coming across from the Beijing Olympics.

An SJM IPO has been in the pipeline for a number of years, but has been consistently delayed due to legal disputes between and his sister Winnie. directly owns 10% of SJM and is also the controlling shareholder of STDM, which owns 80% of SJM’s equity.

One source described the disagreements between the two as the “most vitriolic fight over a major asset in recent Hong Kong history”. Concerns brought up by the regulator in connection with these legal issues caused the deal to be pulled at the last minute in January, but a separate source said the fact that the IPO has now got to the stage of a formal roadshow proves that the legal issues have been resolved.

That may be, but investors might wonder why the company has decided to come to market during a period when Hong Kong IPOs are routinely trading down—the worst example being Chongqing Machinery and Electric Co, which has lost nearly 30% since its debut earlier this month.

Deutsche Bank is the soul global coordinator and bookrunner for the offering, while BNP Paribas and CLSA are advising on the deal. Pricing is scheduled for July 3 and the trading debut is planned for July 10.

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Melco Pbl Tops Out Hard Rock Hotel And City Of Dreams

PBL (Macau) Limited topped out the Hard Rock hotel and the main podium of its mega-project in Cotai, Macau today.

City of Dreams

will be a must-see integrated urban entertainment resort that will combine electrifying entertainment, stylish nightclubs, an amazing array of accommodation options, top-notch dining, world-class shopping as well as a spacious and contemporary casino.

“Our dreams are taking shape. In approximately one year, will begin to welcome visitors from all over the world,” said , Co-Chairman and CEO of MPEL at the topping out ceremony. “Macau is transforming from a gaming-focused destination into a leisure hot spot. will continue to drive this phenomenon and usher in a new era of gaming and entertainment in Macau.”

In addition to approximately 2,200 guest rooms and a wide range of restaurants and bars, will offer a kaleidoscope of entertainment options including stylish nightclubs, live music venues, free attractions and the spectacular Dragone show. The resort will also incorporate a 420,000-square-foot casino with over 550 gaming tables and 1,500 gaming machines.

One of the iconic landmarks of will be a free attraction that will provide visitors with a totally immersive experience, unlike anything they have seen in Asia or elsewhere in the world. Housed in a unique dome-shaped theatre, the production will combine high-definition video content, a customized music score, thousands of theatrical lights and a variety of sensory effects to create a spectacular 10-minute visual extravaganza that is sure to become a must-see for every visitor to Macau.

Renowned for spectacular and imaginative productions, will stage a permanent show at . Founder Franco Dragone will personally direct the breathtaking water-themed show, created specifically for , which is due to open in Macau in the second half of 2009.

A variety of musical performances by well-known regional acts, emerging artists and cover bands will be staged at a live concert venue that can accommodate up to 1,500 people.

The different styles of accommodation at will meet the diverse tastes of the wide spectrum of visitors the resort will attract from Asia and around the world. The options will include Crown Towers Cotai, , the Grand Hyatt’s twin towers and the apartment hotel, which will together provide over 2,200 guest rooms and suites. Each hotel will also offer its own individual spa and leisure facilities.

“We introduced the Crown brand into Macau in 2007 with the opening of , which has quickly become the property of choice for high-rolling VIP customers in Macau,” said Mr. James Packer, Executive Chairman of Crown Limited, and Co-Chairman and Director of MPEL. “We are very excited about extending the Crown brand in Macau, which is synonymous with a luxury six-star experience, through the opening of the Crown Towers Cotai at . is testament to our optimism about the future rapid development of the Macau market.”

will also feature a broad range of restaurants, noodle bars, cafes and lounges. These food and beverage venues will be located throughout the resort offering fine dining experiences as well as casual meals.

The resort will be home to some of the world’s most sought-after and acclaimed brands, with approximately 175,000 square feet of boutiques featuring high-end fashion labels as well as premium jewellery and watch brands.

Phase one of the resort will feature the casino, restaurants, retail boutiques, nightclubs, the iconic audio visual attraction, Crown Towers and . Phase one will be completed during the first half of 2009 with the date of the grand opening to be set early next year. The operation of the entire will require the support of 12,000 employees, which the company intends to recruit through a series of career fairs in Macau and throughout Asia starting in the summer of 2008.

With permission :: Melco PBL

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crown macau officially opened by james packer

Australia’s richest man James Packer finally opened his long awaited cost over-run US$540 million . After the official opening ceremony, he launched the gala party for his 1700 plus invited guest treating them to entertainment by performers such the internationally acclaimed Dragone Group. Of course, by tradition it was complemented with the usual spectacular fireworks display.

The 36-story six-star Crown & Hotel is the newest addition to Macau’s booming gambling industry. It cost US$583 million (original budget US$375) to build, and features a 216 hotel rooms, numerous restaurants, 220 table games and 500 slot machines.

is owned and controlled by Melco PBL, which is a joint venture between James Packer’s PBL and Hong Kong-listed Melco which is run by ’s son, .

Melco PBL Promotional Video

They also are developing the project on the with an expected opening late 2008 and have a site on the Macau Peninsula with a casino and hotel project to be developed with an anticipated opening for mid 2009.

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Melco Pbl Faces City Of Dreams Cost Blowouts

Publishing & Broadcasting Ltd’s Asian casino joint venture has played down fears the construction of its $US2.1 billion ($2.6 billion) complex in has got off to a rocky start, after reporting a $US73.5 million full-year loss.

Melco PBL warned that its plans to capture a big slice of the world’s largest casino centre could prove more costly, after revealing the costs of the soon to open 36-storey had blown out 13 per cent to $US584 million. The loss was largely a result of the development of its two casinos.

Despite noting the additional costs were a result of “conscious and considered” changes to expand the scope of its projects, the joint venture conceded the higher cost of building materials and construction in could have an effect on future projects.

“We’ve indicated that we’re operating in the context of increasing construction and service costs in and obviously we try to … forecast those and mitigate against inflationary pressure as much as we can,” Melco PBL chief financial officer Simon Dewhurst told a phone hook-up over the weekend.

However, Melco PBL said the growth of gaming revenue and tourism in the former Portuguese enclave could offset any cost blowouts. Mr Dewhurst said the group was already considering possible additions to the project, which will house 450 gaming tables, 1500 gaming machines, an “upscale” shopping mall and a 1600-room five star hotel.

He said the group was looking at a “range of options”. Crown Casino in Melbourne, by comparison, has 350 gaming tables.

While conceding the project had experienced a hiccup or two, Melco PBL chief executive said: “The team is very confident of delivering the at the end of 2008.”

The casino is being constructed by Leighton Holdings, which recently completed the Wynns project in .

“Sadly, it’s true that [the head] design director was transferred back to Melbourne.

“Having said that, this is a personal matter and a confidential one,” said Mr Ho. He declined to say what the problem was but did talk up the merits of the new head designer, who was behind the construction of the Sands project.

“We are very confident that he’s a very capable individual,” he said. “The program is on track.”

Crown is due to open on May 9.

Nba Is Coming To Venetian Macau

Las Vegas Sands Corp., parent company of The Venetian Resort Hotel, the National Basketball Association and the Chinese Basketball Association announced today that The Venetian will serve as the host of the first NBA event to be played in . NBA China Games 2007 will feature the Orlando Magic playing the China Men’s National Team on October 18th. On October 20th, the Magic will face off against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Both games will be played at The Venetian ’s new 15,000-seat arena.

“As promised, our continued partnership with the NBA is helping us bring top-quality, professional sports to . We are also in the midst of finalizing deals that will bring other exciting sporting events, popular touring shows, major concerts, and a variety of special events to the region,” said William P. Weidner, president and chief operating officer of Las Vegas Sands Corp. “This is a major step in helping reposition as a must-see destination. The pieces continue to be assembled and when The Venetian , and its combination of exciting shopping, dining, leisure, recreation, and business and convention amenities opens this summer, the puzzle will be complete.”

The NBA China Games 2007 will tip-off on October 17th with a game between the Cavaliers and the Magic in Shanghai at the Qizhong Forest Sport City arena.

NBA China Games 2007 will be the league’s second set of preseason games in China since 2004 when the NBA became the first American professional sports league to stage games in China. The inaugural China Games featured two match-ups between the Houston Rockets and the Sacramento Kings in Shanghai and Beijing.

“The NBA has received tremendous support from the Chinese Basketball Association, the sports authorities of Shanghai and , and The Venetian Resort Hotel in order to bring NBA teams and competitions back to China,” said Heidi Ueberroth, NBA president of global business operations. “Our fans will get to see first hand exciting match-ups featuring some of the best young players in the NBA and in China and we are pleased to continue our efforts to grow the game with our partners in China.”

At a press conference in Shanghai, China, Mark Brown, president of The Venetian , said the creation of the first-ever Strip Cup(TM) played in in November 2006 between the NBA Development League’s Albuquerque Thunderbirds and the China Men’s National Team and the sponsorship of the NBA All-Star Game broadcast on CCTV are other steps The Venetian has already taken to bring new and exciting events to the region. “Our plan to open The Venetian this summer is on track and we are very eager to showcase the varied lineup we are establishing,” added Brown.

All three games will be carried live on CCTV 5 and Great Sports Channel of SMG. The games will be televised to more than 200 countries around the world, including the United States.

The Venetian will be one of the largest hotels in Asia and will be ’s first true mega-resort. It will feature 3,000 all-suite rooms, 1.2 million-square feet of meeting, convention and exhibition space, world-class in a 15,000-seat arena, and an impressive array of dining, shopping, and recreation options.

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Macaus Gambling Problem

As we mentioned before, there is too much of a good thing in Macau! A small population of 508,000 with a workforce of 260,000 people, that needs to be 400,000 people by 2010. This is to support all those new casino’s, hotels and resorts that will be sprouting up all over Macau. And we have not even talked about the drop in per table take which since 2002 has been a whopping 300%!
Global gaming and entertainment operators have been doubling down on new casino development in Macao. Yet it could also be heading for a nasty shakeout thanks to a looming casino glut, some analysts warn.

At first glance, the casino development spending spree seems justified. Macao’s gaming revenues are growing an average of nearly 20% per year and were just shy of $7 billion last year, earning the enclave more than the entire Las Vegas strip. Avid Chinese gamblers, who account for 50% of the bettors, up from virtually zero five years ago, arrive in ever growing numbers.

But behind those headline-grabbing numbers a less glittering picture starts to emerge. The average take per table, which peaked at $10,000 per day in 2002 when Hong Kong mogul still had a monopoly on the gaming industry, has been steadily falling this decade.

In 2006 the average take was just $3,200 because of the rapid overall expansion of gaming tables. It’s going to get worse: As ever more properties come on stream in the next few years, that figure could reach as low as $1,800 by 2010, figures Morgan Stanley gaming analyst Rob Hart. “We’ve been warning investors,” he says.

Indeed, the number of tables is expected to increase fivefold from 2,000 at the beginning of this year to 10,000 by the end of 2010. And the culprit is seemingly nonstop new casino development.

So far this year, ’s Sociedade de Jogos de Macao has opened its $384 million, 300-table Grand Lisboa casino. Even now, there is a massive shortage of croupiers—table dealers who throw dice, spin roulette wheels, and deal cards—on the island. That’s already putting the squeeze on margins, say analysts.

Later this year, Las Vegas Sands will take the wraps off its $2.3 billion Venetian Macau, with 800 tables and 2,000 slot machines, complete with gondolas, a convention center, and 3,000 luxury hotel suites. The MGM Grand Macau will follow this fall with an additional 340 tables.

Before ’s gaming monopoly ended in 2002, Macao was primarily a V.I.P. market, where high rollers accounted for about 74% of gaming revenues. But at the Sands Macao, which has been steadily stealing market share from established operators since it opened in 2004, about 55% of revenues now flow from mass market gamblers.

Ordinary mainland punters obviously spend less, and usually don’t seek out high-end accommodations or spend small fortunes on Prada handbags and Tag Heuer wrist watches. Yet the more frugal gamblers are clearly driving growth now and likely will soon eclipse the big-spending segment.

In fact, Morgan Stanley’s Hart estimates these consumers will overtake the VIP business by 2008.

Las Vegas Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson and Steve Wynn have argued in the past that their resort complexes, artificial waterfalls, glitzy stage acts, and opulent hotel rooms will keep well-off families and business covention-goers coming back again and help upgrade Macao’s lowbrow image.
Right now, though, Macao is showing all the signs of an overdeveloped pleasure palace that may bring disappointing returns to the world’s biggest gambling entertainment concerns.