Sands' Adelson mulls Singapore mall sale after restriction ends

Sheldon Adelson, chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands, is considering selling Marina Bay Sands' retail assets after a government-imposed moratorium expires next year.
Sheldon Adelson, chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands, is considering selling Marina Bay Sands' retail assets after a government-imposed moratorium expires next year. PHOTO: BUSINESS TIMES

SINGAPORE (BLOOMBERG) - Gambling tycoon Sheldon Adelson, whose Las Vegas Sands Corp. owns the landmark Marina Bay Sands, said he's considering selling the casino resort's retail assets after a government-imposed moratorium expires next year.

The company has spoken with potential buyers, Chairman Mr Adelson said in a conference call after Las Vegas-based Sands announced first-quarter results Wednesday.

"We have been approached. We have been talking to people," said Mr Adelson. Capitalization rates at the 800,000 square-foot mall "are attractive, and we may or may not sell a portion."

The world's largest casino operator missed analysts estimates as profit shrank amid a sharp decline in gambling at Sands China Ltd., its main Macau unit. The Hong Kong-listed company's shares fell 4.9 per cent to HK$29.05 (S$5.02) by the close of trading Thursday, the lowest level in more than a month, even as Mr Adelson bet Macau would see future improvement from mass-market gamblers and tourists.

Las Vegas Sands "always have thoughts of monetising anything" except its core casino assets, Mr Adelson said. The company's casino license in Singapore doesn't allow it to do so until 2017, and the 82-year-old said he will discuss this when he meets the city-state's government in May.

In Singapore, casino revenue at Marina Bay Sands plunged 28 per cent to US$453.1 million (S$607.4 million) in the first quarter, while mall revenue decreased 2 per cent to US$39 million, according to the parent company's statement. Hotel room revenue slipped 0.8 per cent to US$88.9 million, even as occupancy rose 3.1 percentage points to 97.9 per cent.