Las Vegas Sands Corp announced on Sunday U.S. time – Monday Macau time – that its majority-owned subsidiary Sands China Ltd has “received the Macau government approvals needed to complete the construction” of its US$2.7 billion Paris-themed casino resort The Parisian.
In a quarterly filing in August, Las Vegas Sands Corp said construction of the Parisian Macao was “pending receipt of certain government approvals”.
The companies’ chairman Sheldon Adelson said in a statement accompanying the latest announcement: “From the moment we put our first shovel in the ground we have been committed to helping Macau secure its future as a centre for leisure, business and entertainment.”
China’s President Xi Jinping reiterated on his official visit to the city at the weekend the need to diversify Macau’s economy beyond gambling.
Mr Adelson said in Sunday’s statement: “Our investment has provided tens of thousands of new jobs in areas such as retail, entertainment and hotel operations. We’ve enabled local companies and suppliers to grow their businesses and we’ve helped the government expand its tax base and diversify its economy. The Parisian Macao is 100 percent consistent with that vision…”
The company didn’t specify when the resort would open. But in commentary at the time of the parent’s third quarter earnings announcement in mid-October, Mr Adelson and his management team indicated the Parisian Macao would have a soft opening – of hotel rooms only – in November or December 2015, and a full opening, including the casino, in March 2016.
On September 5, a statement to GGRAsia from Macau’s Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau (known by its Portuguese acronym DSSOPT) said that Sands China had up to that point only received permits for foundation works and construction of the podium area of the resort.
Works were suspended in June following an on-site work accident and remained “partially suspended” as of September 5, DSSOPT had told us.
Lau Si Io, previously Secretary for Transport and Public Works and who oversaw the bureau – which is responsible for issuing casino construction permits – stepped down this month. It was part of a general government reshuffle for the second and final five-year term of Macau’s Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On.
Mr Chui named Raimundo Arrais do Rosário – an engineer and previously Macau’s head of mission to the European Union and the representative in the office in Lisbon – as the new person to oversee the DSSOPT.
On November 11, Ambrose So Shu Fai, chief executive of rival Macau casino operator SJM Holdings Ltd – which is building a new resort on Cotai called Lisboa Palace – told GGRAsia: “There have been quite a number of delays there [on Cotai]. And we hope that they [the new secretaries] having gained experience from the past, could speed that up.”
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”The upswing in visitation and gaming revenue is likely to aid Fitch-rated casino operators with a presence in Macau in reducing their debt levels”