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Las Vegas Sands Corp announced yesterday that it had secured commitments to raise up to US$600 million through the sale of exchangeable bonds.  The bonds will be mandatorily exchangeable into shares when it spins off its Macau operations in an initial public offering in Hong Kong early in 2010, an exercise the company hopes will raise a further US$2.5 billion.

The convertible bonds were offered at interest rates of up to 16%, according to “people who had seen the documents prepared by Goldman Sachs, LVS’ appointed investment bank.  Sheldon Adelson was quoted as saying, “the completion of this financing, which we expect to occur in a matter of days, will enhance our current liquidity position and further our efforts towards reaching long-term financial stability.”

The company owes US$10.8 billion to its banks, including US$3.3 billion of Macau debt largely originating from the construction of the Venetian and Four Seasons resorts in Macau.  Following a recent credit agreement amendment, and this bond sale, the company has bought time to either repay debt or restart lots 5&6.