The Macau Metro Monitor, May 9, 2013
SANDS CHINA STATES REPORTS OF FOUR SEASONS SALES "INTENTIONALLY FALSE" Macau Daily Times, Macau Business Daily
In response to Hong Kong media reports that Sands China is selling its Four Seasons Hotel Macau through a timeshare arrangement, the government has asked the company to clarify the alleged sale. The government has suggested that this form of sale might become an alternative form of real estate development, and the authority hinted the possibility of blocking any property transfer that violates the land concession contracts that the casino resorts signed with the authority.
In a statement issued yesterday, Sands China said: “The Company wished to emphasize that although it has consistently stated in its annual reports that its business strategy includes the monetization of its non-core assets, there is absolutely no basis to the information in the news reports (on the alleged sales of the Four Seasons Hotel Macau and the alleged spinning off of the shopping mall). The company considers these reports to be intentionally false and is seeking legal advice accordingly.”
Jaime Carion, the director of the Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau, said, “According to the land grant contract, any transfer [of ownership] needs the approval from the MSAR administration. We have already sent the company [Venetian Macau] a letter asking them to explain to us what the whole thing is about”.
The sales of properties within casino-resorts is a public concern, as some critics stressed that the lands are granted to the operators at low prices and such sales may cause controversy relating to the fairness of the granting of the land concessions. In addition, news reports also said Sands China is proposing the sale of its shopping mall project by way of BT or REITs for listing. The project is estimated to be worth HKD24 billion.