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Howard Stutz

LV Sands amends loan agreement

14 August 2009

LAS VEGAS, Nevada –- Las Vegas Sands Corp. amended a portion of its loan agreement that covers the company's Macau casino operations Thursday.

The amendment to the company's $3.3 billion Macau credit facility boosted the interest rate, but gives Las Vegas Sands 18 months of covenant relief and the ability to pursue a limited initial public offering on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange through the sale of shares in the company's Macau casinos.

The news was met positively on Wall Street Thursday. Shares of Las Vegas Sands closed at $13.79 on the New York Stock Exchange, up $1.50 or 12.21 percent.

JPMorgan gaming analyst Joe Greff said the announcement improves the company's liquidity and gives the casino operator increased financial flexibility.

"We believe that the Macau bank group's willingness to amend the credit facility reflects their belief in Las Vegas Sands' strategy and the resumption of growth in Macau," Greff told investors.

Las Vegas Sands halted construction last November on several projects on the Cotai Strip region of Macau as financing dried up. The company avoided bankruptcy through a $2.1 billion recapitalization, which included a $1 billion cash infusion from company Chairman Sheldon Adelson.

Recently, Adelson has said restarting construction on some of its Cotai Strip developments, which the company had planned a $12 billion development with 20,000 hotel rooms, was a company priority.