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Best of Howard Stutz

Gaming Guru

Howard Stutz

Las Vegas Sands has largest market cap in industry

19 January 2011

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Las Vegas Sands Corp. has topped a list of the world's leading gaming companies based on market capitalization.

But the company's Hong Kong-based subsidiary, Sands China, which covers the company's holdings in Macau, ranked third on the list. Las Vegas Sands owns 71 percent of Sands China.

British-based Global Betting & Gaming Consultants compiled the rankings.

Las Vegas Sands' market capitalization of $25.5 billion pointed toward a "remarkable turnaround" for the company, said Warwick Bartlett of Global Betting & Gaming Consultants.

He credited a cash infusion of more than $1 billion by Las Vegas Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson more than two years ago, which helped the casino operator avoid a potential bankruptcy. He also cited the company's Asian focus, including the opening last year of the $5.5 billion Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

In Macau, Las Vegas Sands operates The Venetian Macau and Sands Macau and has restarted construction on several hotel-casinos on the Cotai Strip that are expected to open over the next two years and will include some 6,400 rooms.

Shares of Las Vegas Sands have risen from $1.38 on March 9, 2009, to Friday's closing price of $48.07 on the New York Stock Exchange. Las Vegas Sands shares rose 86 cents, or 1.82 percent, Monday to close at $48.07.

Sands China, which is traded on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, had a market capitalization of $16.7 billion. Singapore's Genting was second behind Las Vegas Sands with a market capitalization of $19.1 billion.

Two other Nevada-based companies ranked in the top 10, which was published by the Financial Times of London. Slot machine giant International Game Technology ranked seventh with a market capitalization of $5.4 billion, while Wynn Resorts Ltd. placed eighth with $5.2 billion in market capitalization.

"The movement within the index reflects the changes in the global economy," Bartlett told the Financial Times. "Asia has recognized gambling is gross domestic product positive and new casinos in Singapore are expected to add 2 percent to their gross domestic product in a few years."

Wynn Macau, a subsidiary of Wynn Resorts, which is traded on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, had a market capitalization of $12.4 billion and ranked fourth on the list.

Both Sands and Wynn listed large stakes in their Macau holdings on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2009 through initial public offerings. MGM Resorts International has been contemplating a similar move with its 50 percent ownership in the MGM Grand Macau.

Macau casino giant SJM Holdings, which was founded by controversial Hong Kong billionaire Stanley Ho, was fifth in the rankings after the company experienced a 182 percent increase in its share price on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2010.

Bartlett said the rankings used market capitalization figures that were adjusted for the percentage of company's gambling revenues.

Bartlett noted in a statement that the Top 10 didn't include any British-based gambling companies.

"The United Kingdom has gone from leader to laggard in the market and is in danger of losing its source of expertise and intellectual property in this industry," Bartlett said.

In a separate ranking, Global Betting & Gaming Consultants ranked online gaming operators. Software provider Playtech topped the ranking, followed by betting exchange operator Betfair. Two companies that are merging, Austria-based Bwin and United Kingdom's PartyGaming, were third and fourth.
Las Vegas Sands has largest market cap in industry is republished from