Macau Casinos to Go Public
By Staff
Macau's dominant gaming group, Sociedade De Jogos De Macau (SJM), has announced plans to sell 1.25 million new shares to raise up to $1bn for the redevelopment of one of its casinos.

SJM is controlled by casino tycoon Stanley Ho and is the largest casino operator in Macau, running 17 of the 28 casinos in the former Portuguese colony. The firm stated earlier that it would use proceeds from the sale to redevelop the 38-year-old Hotel Lisboa Macau, a local landmark that is widely believed to be designed like a birdcage to trap gamblers' money according to the art of feng shui. Renovating the 188,368 square feet Hotel Lisboa Macau is to begin next year and expected to be completed in 2012.

According to experts, the share sale is critical to SJM as it competes with other casino groups including American giants such as Sands and MGM. SJM enjoyed a 40-year monopoly in Macau under the former colonial regime until the industry was opened to foreign companies in early 2002 after the area had reverted to Chinese sovereignty.

The new shares will account for about one-quarter of SJM’s enlarged share capital and 85 percent is to be sold to institutional investors with Deutsche Bank acting as managers. Five percent of the shares are to be reserved for employees while ten percent has been earmarked for the general public. Institutional investors will be able to purchase shares from today while the public offering will begin next Monday with trading starting early next month.

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