Marina Bay Sands Expansion Not Seeking Large Loans for Development

Posted on: December 1, 2023, 04:39h.

Last updated on: December 1, 2023, 04:39h.

Reports surfaced Thursday that Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS) is seeking up to $7.5 billion in loans to finance enhancements and expansion at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, but the gaming company denied it’s looking for capital.

Las Vegas Sands
Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. Parent Las Vegas Sands won’t borrow significantly to fund expansion there. (Image: CNN)

In local currency terms, loans of that size would equal S$10 billion based on current exchange rates. That would represent the largest syndicated financing in the city-state’s history, but it appears that record will not be topped by LVS.

We are neither in the market nor looking for $10 billion in loans,” said Ron Reese, senior vice-president of global communications for Las Vegas Sands, in a statement to Bloomberg.

Unidentified sources speculated that LVS could rollover a revolving credit facility, refinance existing debt and issue new corporate bonds to finance expansion at the Singapore integrated resort. It was assumed that the loans would be priced in Singapore in dollars, but even in that case, borrowers would be subject to higher financing costs. As is the case in the US, interest rates in Singapore have recently surged. As measured by the three-month compounded Singapore Overnight Rate Average — the benchmark used to price loans there — the city-state’s interest rates hover around 3.5% today, up from about 0.50% in early 2022.

LVS Admits MBS Expansion Costs Moving Higher

While it may not be in the market for fresh capital, Sands admits that costs associated with expanding Marina Bay Sands are surging.

“The company expects the total project cost will materially exceed the amounts referenced from April 2019 based on current market conditions due to inflation, higher material and labor costs and other factors,” LVS said in an October filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Originally, MBS expansion, which will include new guest rooms, convention and meeting space and a 15,000-seat entertainment arena, was slated to cost S$4.5 billion (USD$3.37 billion), but it appears that figure will be significantly exceeded.

Still, Sands investing in MBS is likely to payoff over the long-term. The venue is one of just two integrated resorts in Singapore and it’s one of the most profitable casino hotels in the world, luring visitors from across Asia.

Sands Right to Hold Off on Borrowing

While MBS is one of the crown jewels of the Asia-Pacific gaming scene and enhancements there are necessary to keep pace in an increasingly competitive environment, Sands is smart to minimize its exposure to new borrowings.

The company’s investment-grade credit rating was restored in July by Standard & Poor’s (S&P), but by just one notch and new borrowings of size could be a headwind to further upgrades.

Additionally, interest rates are elevated around the world, indicating that if Sands wants to borrow money, there are few jurisdictions in which it can get favorable terms.

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