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Las Vegas Sands considers change to reflect growing international presence

Las Vegas Sands Corp. is contemplating a corporate name change to reflect its growing international presence. The move would eliminate Las Vegas from the casino operator’s title.

In an interview with Dow Jones News Service while visiting Hong Kong, Las Vegas Sands Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Sheldon Adelson said Tuesday the company would become either Sands International or Sands Resort International "to reflect that we’re not just in Las Vegas."

Company spokesman Ron Reese said Wednesday a decision on a new name has not been made, but "discussions had taken place at the highest levels of the company."

Adelson said the name change might be submitted for a vote at the next board of directors meeting.

Reese said the meeting could take place sometime in November when Las Vegas Sands reports third-quarter earnings.

Las Vegas Sands is the largest American casino operator in Macau. The company operates three casinos in the region, including the Sands Macau and the 3,000-room Venetian Macau, which is at the entrance to the Cotai Strip.

In the second quarter that ended June 30, Las Vegas Sands reported $276.2 million in revenues from The Venetian and Palazzo in Las Vegas compared with $1.04 billion in Macau.

The company recently restarted construction on its stalled development projects on two Cotai Strip sites. Construction was halted in November 2008 when lending for the projects dried up and Las Vegas Sands was forced to restructure its corporate finances.

The company plans to open 6,400 additional hotel rooms in the next two years under the Shangri-La, Traders, Sheraton, Sheraton Towers and St. Regis brands, adding additional convention and casino space.

Las Vegas Sands has not moved forward with plans for two additional Cotai Strip sites, other than spending $102.3 million on site preparations, according to a June 30 financial statement.

In April, Las Vegas Sands opened the $5.7 billion Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. Adelson has predicted the hotel-casino, one of just two resorts in Singapore, could realize annual cash flows of more than $1 billion.

Marina Bay Sands collected $216.4 million in revenue during the second quarter.

Last year, Las Vegas Sands listed a portion of its Macau casinos on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Speaking at the CLSA Investors’ Conference in Hong Kong, Adelson said he plans to keep his Hong Kong-listed Sands China and Las Vegas Sands, listed publicly on the New York Stock Exchange, separate.

"I want Sands China to be as successful as Las Vegas Sands is," Adelson said, according to Dow Jones. "No bank or any investor has ever complained that I’ve cannibalized, that I’ve shifted profits from one to the other."

A corporate name change by Las Vegas Sands would not be unprecedented.

In June, shareholders of MGM Resorts International approved a name change from MGM Mirage to reflect its presence in developing luxury nongaming hotels outside of the United States, including Dubai, Vietnam, Abu Dhabi, Egypt and China that are expected to open starting next year through 2013.

In April, Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman Steve Wynn told Hong Kong media that he was considering moving his company’s corporate headquarters from Las Vegas to Macau.

He tempered the remarks a few weeks later when he told investors he would spend more time in Macau and build a secondary corporate headquarters at a new resort being planned for the Cotai Strip.

Contact reporter Howard Stutz at hstutz@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3871.

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