Sands China, parent raise $2.5 billion in Hong Kong sale

Sands China Ltd. and its parent, the casino company controlled by billionaire Sheldon Adelson, raised HK$19.4 billion ($2.5 billion) in a Hong Kong share sale conducted at the low end of its forecast range.

A total of 1.87 billion shares were sold at HK$10.38 each, compared with the HK$10.38 to HK$13.88 that the company sought, according to Bloomberg data. Sands joins Wynn Macau Ltd. in selling shares in Hong Kong after other casino operators surged this year. Las Vegas Sands Corp.’s shares surged 176 percent this year, after dropping 94 percent in 2008.

Sands China’s share of the proceeds, together with $1.75 billion in bank financing, will help it resume construction of the 13.3 million-square-foot (1.24 million-square-meter) casino-resort that was halted in November 2008 after credit markets seized up and revenue dwindled.

Pinnacle Entertainment aims to hire new chief in 90 days

Las Vegas-based Pinnacle Entertainment hopes to have a new chief executive officer in place “within the next 90 days” company officials said this week.

Interim CEO John Giovenco, a member of the casino operator’s board of directors and the former president of Hilton Gaming Corp., told Morgan Joseph gaming analyst Justin Sebastiano that his role was “very temporary.”

Sebastiano met with Pinnacle management this week at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas.

Pinnacle is looking for a new CEO after Dan Lee’s sudden resignation earlier this month. Lee stepped down after a public incident at a St. Louis County Council meeting that Missouri gaming regulators are investigating.

Sebastiano, in a research note to investors, said the company hired an executive search firm to help in the process.

CityCenter earns two more awards for ecofriendliness

CityCenter has earned two more Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold ratings from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The Mandarin Oriental Hotel and the all-residential Veer Towers became the fifth and sixth buildings at the $8.5 billion complex to earn the certifications and completes the process for CityCenter.

The awards for all of CityCenter mark the highest LEED achievement by any hotel, retail district or residential development in Las Vegas.

Mandarin Oriental will feature 392 rooms and suites and 225 residences. The 47-story property opens Dec. 4.

Veer Towers is CityCenter’s only purely residential development. Its two 37-story glass towers are inclined at 5-degree angles. Each tower will house approximately 335 condominium residences.


Natural gas prices plunge 12 percent during month

Natural gas prices have dropped by more than 12 percent in the past month as the country continues to sip at its energy reserves and a balmy November allowed homeowners to leave the heat off.

Retail prices for natural gas, or what many consumers will pay to heat their homes, are expected to be substantially lower this year.

Spot prices for natural gas have dropped to almost half of what they were last year, though they’ve increased slightly this month, according to the Energy Information Administration.

The recession has kept natural gas demand low most of the year.


JPMorgan to drop arbitration clause from credit card pacts

JPMorgan Chase & Co. said Friday it is dropping a clause from its credit card contracts that required disputes with customers to be handled through binding arbitration, a move that could lead to consumers filing class action and other lawsuits.

A spokesman for the New York-based bank’s Chase Card Services unit confirmed the change after a law firm that sued banks over arbitration clauses announced a tentative settlement with JPMorgan Chase.

Chase decided to stop sending credit card disputes to arbitration in July, and now is removing the arbitration clause, spokesman Paul Hartwick said.

Banks say arbitration is less costly for everyone than lawsuits.

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