Sands China awards US$120m deal to builders for Macau resort

HONG KONG: Sands China, the Macau unit of US casino operator Las Vegas Sands has awarded contracts worth more than 1 billion patacas (US$120 million) to Macau contractors for its planned mega-resort on Macau's Cotai Strip, saying construction of the troubled project has resumed.

The project, which will house the world's biggest casino as well as Shangri-La, Traders and Sheraton hotels, was suspended in November 2008 when Las Vegas Sands stumbled into cash flow problems at the peak of the credit crunch.

Recently, analysts had expressed fears that a possible move by Macau's government to restrict the number of non-resident workers on construction projects could result in cost overruns or project delays for Sands China's latest project. The first two phases will cost US$2.35 billion to develop and are set to open by the third quarter of 2011.

Late on Monday May 24, Sands China said in a statement that it had awarded more than 20 contracts, but did not reveal the names of the contractors who are working on the project, known as sites five and six. Macau's Cotai Strip has been billed by some developers as the next Las Vegas Strip.

"I am extremely pleased about the resumption of construction work at our Cotai Strip development on Parcels 5 and 6," Chief Executive Steve Jacobs said in the statement.

Jacobs told Reuters in an interview in mid-April that between 2,000 and 4,000 labourers recently resumed work on the project.

In May, Sands China secured a US$1.75 billion loan to finish construction work on the project, which would complement Sands China's three existing Macau casinos, including the massive Venetian Macao. — Reuters
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