Fresh doubt on Sands
The auditor of Las Vegas Sands Corp, operator of the Venetian Macao and Sands casino hotels in Macau, has questioned its ability to avoid bankruptcy if it fails to obtain fresh funds.
Sands is in danger of defaulting on its debt repayments and breaching the limit on its debt ratio, auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) warned.
Defaults would 'raise substantial doubt about the company's ability to continue as a going concern', the auditor said.
The warning, contained in a filing yesterday to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, triggered a fresh plunge in the company's shares. They fell as much as 38.77 per cent in New York trading to US$7.14.
A year ago the shares were trading at nearly US$123.
PWC said the firm could be forced to suspend construction of its US$3.3 billion, 6,400 room casino-hotel complex opposite the Venetian.
Despite the injection of US$475 million of chairman and majority shareholder Sheldon Adelson's own money in September, the firm has become increasingly pressed for cash in Las Vegas, Macau and Singapore as a result of the global credit crisis. It has already tried in vain to refinance loans, or raise nearly US$2 billion in new capital, to complete construction of the Cotai complex.
In three out of the last four quarters, the company's interest payments have been higher than its operating income.
The company last week delayed reporting its third-quarter results.