Macau casino operator Sands China Ltd is to issue new unsecured notes in the aggregate principal amount of US$1.95 billion.
Sands China said the first tranche of the new notes, amounting to US$700 million, carries a yearly interest rate of 2.300 percent, and has a maturity date of March, 2027. The second tranche is for US$650 million, bearing 2.850-percent interest annually, and matures in March, 2029. The third tranche of US$600 million, carries 3.250-percent annual interest, and matures in August, 2031.
The company said in a Friday filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, that it had a purchase agreement with Barclays Capital Inc, Bank of America Securities Inc, and Goldman Sachs & Co LLC, as representatives of the initial purchasers of the notes. The day before, Sands China had stated to the bourse it had doubled its monthly loss in August, versus July.
The notes will rank equally in right of payment, with all of the company’s existing and future senior unsecured indebtedness.
Sands China intends to use the net proceeds of approximately US$1.93 billion from the offer and cash on hand to redeem in full the outstanding principal amount of its US$1.80-billion 4.600-percent senior notes due 2023, and any accrued interest and the associated make-whole premium.
Fitch Ratings Inc said in a Thursday memo it had assigned a ‘BBB-’ rating to Sands China’s announced senior unsecured notes. Fitch ‘BBB’ ratings indicate that expectations of default risk are currently low.
The memo reiterated that Fitch assessed Sands China’s long-term issuer default rating currently, as ‘BBB-’, with “outlook negative”.
The ratings agency said its ‘negative’ outlook on Sands China’s long-term rating was driven by factors including Macau’s 2021 gaming revenues being forecast at nearly 65 percent below those of 2019 – i.e., of pre-pandemic levels – recovering to 35 percent below 2019, by 2022, and only “fully recovering” to pre-pandemic performance, in 2024.
Fitch said it assumed a “slightly faster trajectory” for Singapore, where Sands China’s parent – United States-based Las Vegas Sands Corp – has a casino licence and runs the Marina Bay Sands resort.
Fitch stated: “The probability of a downgrade has been reduced over the past 18 months given actions taken by Las Vegas Sands to bolster liquidity and its credit profile. This includes suspending its dividends, increasing its Macau revolver capacity and pushing out its development plans in Singapore.”
Fitch said Las Vegas Sands had “US$400 million left to spend in Macau to finish converting Sands Cotai Central into the Londoner”.
The institution added: “Las Vegas Sands will also spend US$3.3 billion in Singapore –including a US$1-billion one-time payment already made in second-quarter 2019 – in the medium term to expand Marina Bay Sands”.
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