US$1.75 billion of debt financing will allow construction to resume on $2.24 billion project

Sands China, Asia’s biggest casino operator by market value, secured US$1.75 billion of debt financing from a group of banks to resume construction on Macau’s Cotai Strip.

A report by Bloomberg Businessweek said the company may sign agreements with seven main banks, including international and Chinese lenders, as soon as this week. The company will also contribute about $500 million from its initial public offering in November.

“We will be fully financed,” CEO Steven Jacobs said. “We’re starting.”

The $2.24 billion project, occupying two sites on the Cotai Strip opposite the company’s Venetian Macao on the island of Coloane, will add 6,000 rooms to the 3,600 Sands China has in the city. The expansion will include two casinos, 800,000 square feet of retail area and 800,000 square feet of meeting space, Jacobs said. Sands China will open most of the new resort as early as third quarter of next year, he said.

Parent company Las Vegas Sands stopped construction on Cotai in 2008 when credit markets froze and revenue growth slowed.

Net income for Sands China in the first quarter more than quadrupled to $110.5 million while sales rose 24 percent to $944 million, the company said.