HONG KONG (Reuters) - Las Vegas casino company Wynn Resorts (WYNN.O) has raised the size of the initial public share offer in Hong Kong for its Macau unit by around 25 percent, according to sources familiar with the matter, seeking to raise up to $1.6 billion.
U.S. casino operators, grappling with high debt levels and a recovering economy, are hoping to boost valuations through spinoffs in China’s gambling hub, Macau, the former Portuguese colony located an hour away from Hong Kong by ferry which now hosts the world’s biggest gambling market that raked in record bets in August.
Macau casino offers from Wynn and its rival Las Vegas Sands (LVS.N) come amid an expanding pipeline of other Hong Kong IPOs.
Wynn Macau previously sought to raise up to $1 billion, but after positive feedback from investors it has raised the offer and the company now plans to sell 25 percent of the division, up from the 20 percent it originally expected to sell.
The price range of the offer is expected to be HK$8.52-10.08 per share, the sources said on Sunday, with at least 1.25 billion shares being sold. The sources have direct knowledge of the offering but were not authorized to speak publicly about the deal yet.
The IPO has attracted a combined $250 million from several so-called “cornerstone investors,” or investors who take a substantial stake in the company before the offering, one of the sources said.
Among them is Thomas Lau, the billionaire managing director of Lifestyle International (1212.HK), the retailer that operates the Sogo department stores in Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui districts and the Jiuguang Department Store in Shanghai.
Another is Walter Kwok, of the Kwok family-run Sun Hung Kai Properties, Asia’s largest property group by market value. Malaysia’s wealthy Guoco family is also investing in the IPO.
Wynn’s second resort in Macau, called Encore at Wynn Macau, is scheduled to open in the first half of 2010, the company said in the IPO prospectus. The total budget for the construction is about $650 million and so far construction costs have totaled about half that amount.
The company is funding the construction through existing cash balances and cash flow from operations, it said in the filing.
Wynn’s archrival Las Vegas Sands which has filed an application for a possible listing on the Hong Kong stock exchange, aims to raise $1 billion to $2 billion through the sale of a minority stake in its Macau operations at the end of November or early December.
But analysts say Wynn’s offering in Hong Kong could be better received than the Sands one due to its lower debt levels and its strong brand name.
Wynn, which had shelved its plans to list its Macau assets late last year amid the stock market plunge, will kick off its roadshow for the deal on September 21. The shares could be priced on October 2.
JP Morgan (JPM.N), UBS AG UBSN.VX and Morgan Stanley have been designated to handle Wynn’s Hong Kong listing.
$1=HK$7.75 Editing by Greg Mahlich