Cosmopolitan hires executive from rival

The Cosmopolitan has hired a second top executive away from a competing property on the Strip.

Jeff Burge, the vice president of finance at the Las Vegas Sands Corp.’s Palazzo and Venetian, has been hired as the Cosmopolitan’s chief financial officer, a project official said Tuesday.

The 40-year-old Burge will join the $3.9 billion project Monday and report to the resort’s chief executive officer, John Unwin.

Unwin, who resigned as the general manager at Caesars Palace in July, will join the project in October.

Deutsche Bank hired both men, who will oversee the resort even if another company is brought in to operate the hotel-casino.

Las Vegas Sands finishes financing transaction

Las Vegas Sands Corp. said Tuesday it completed a $600 million financing transaction, a preliminary step toward an initial public offering of shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

The IPO, which will be backed by the company’s casinos in Macau, will allow Las Vegas Sands to restart construction on several stalled projects along the Chinese gaming enclave’s Cotai Strip.

Las Vegas Sands also has been trying to strengthen its balance sheet.

“The closing of this financing, in combination with the other measures we have completed to date, demonstrates that we are successfully executing that plan,” Las Vegas Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson said in a statement.

Board member tapped for consolidated bank

Capitol Bancorp Ltd. on Tuesday said Peter Atkinson has been named to the board of directors for the proposed consolidated Bank of Las Vegas.

In a statement, Capitol Bancorp said that, pending regulatory approval, Bank of Las Vegas, Black Mountain Community Bank, Desert Community Bank and Red Rock Community Bank will consolidate and operate as one bank charter, under the name Bank of Las Vegas.

Thomas Mangione, Capitol Bancorp’s Nevada regional president, has been named the new bank’s chairman and chief executive officer. Atkinson will serve on the board of directors and as president of Bank of Las Vegas at the Black Mountain location.

The consolidated bank’s James Howard, J. Randall Boesch and Vince Ciminise will continue in their roles as community presidents and remain at their current locations. Howard will also serve as chief operating officer.


Consumers chop debt, slash borrowing

The Federal Reserve says consumers slashed their borrowing in July by the largest amount on record as job losses and uncertainty about the economic recovery prompted Americans to rein in their debt.

Consumers ratcheted back their credit by a larger-than-anticipated $21.6 billion from June, the most on records dating to 1943. Economists expected credit to drop by $4 billion.

July’s retreat translated into an annualized drop of 10.4 percent. That was even sharper than the 7.4 percent annualized decline in June and the deepest cut since a 16.3 percent pace in June 1975.

Demand for nonrevolving credit used to finance cars, vacations, education and other things fell by $15.4 billion, also a record decline.


China auto sales increase 82 percent

China’s auto sales surged 82 percent in August to 1.14 million units, but monthly sales dropped to second place behind the United States after leading for much of the year, data showed Tuesday.

Total sales for the first eight months of 2009 rose to 8.33 million units, up nearly 30 percent from a year earlier, the official Xinhua News Agency said, citing the state-sanctioned China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

Global carmakers are looking to China to drive revenues amid sluggish demand elsewhere.

August was the sixth month that China’s auto sales, boosted by tax cuts and subsidies as part of Beijing’s stimulus, exceeded 1.1 million units.


Officials spar anew over bank acquisition

Bank of America Corp. and the New York Attorney General’s office are sparring again over the bank’s acquisition of Merrill Lynch & Co.

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s office asked Bank of America to provide details by Monday about why it didn’t disclose certain information to shareholders ahead of the acquisition that closed Jan. 1.

Cuomo’s office, which has been investigating the deal, said in a letter Tuesday that Bank of America failed to tell shareholders about potential losses, write-downs and an acceleration of bonus payments to Merrill Lynch employees. Bank of America also failed to tell shareholders before they approved the deal in December that senior executives considered backing out of the Merrill Lynch purchase.

Bank of America has so far refused to say why it didn’t disclose such information.

The attorney general’s office said it needs those details to make “fair and fully informed decisions as to what charges, if any, to bring.”

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