Gaming firm says finances are stable and there is no rush to raise funds Hong Kong's only listed gaming operator K Wah Construction Materials has postponed its US$500 million bond indefinitely due to unfavourable market sentiment. Mounting speculation that casino magnate Stanley Ho Hung-sung will float his gaming flagship on the stock exchange, fears of a global outbreak of bird flu and Macau registering lower than expected gaming revenue have put selling pressure on the Macau concept stock. Shares of K Wah Construction plunged to a year low of $3.725 yesterday, down 9.15 per cent from the previous close. The stock has suffered a 61 per cent fall from its peak of $9.70 on April 19, when the company's massive casino asset injection was announced. To calm investor anxiety, K Wah Construction senior management called a media briefing yesterday, stressing there would be no delay in the building of its $1.83 billion Galaxy StarWorld Hotel in the former Portuguese enclave. Company finance director William Lo Chi-chung said the firm would be under no financial pressure for the next 12 months. 'Our financial position is not in such a desperate situation that we have to rush to launch [the bond] within two weeks. For us, the most important thing is to achieve the best result from this exercise,' Mr Lo said. The company has appointed Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley to arrange the five-year US$500 million bond to finance its gaming operation. The bond size increased to US$500 million from an earlier target of between US$300 million and US$350 million, he said. 'Our investment banks told us that the bond was ready to launch anytime,' Mr Lo said, adding the company is confident of attracting investors. However, he said he was concerned that investment sentiment could turn sour. He refused to say when the launch would proceed. For the next five years, the firm plans to invest $5.7 billion in four projects made up of Galaxy StarWorld and the $4.08 billion, three-phase Galaxy Cotai Mega Resort. The Galaxy StarWorld Hotel project will be financed by internal resources and bank borrowing even in the absence of funds from the bond issue. The company also played down the impact of possible competition from Mr Ho's Sociedade de Jogos de Macau listing in Hong Kong. 'It's a free world. If [Sociedade de Jogos de Macau] wants to list, then it can. Is it going to have direct impact on Galaxy? No, it won't happen,' said Galaxy Resort and Casino director and chief executive Anthony Carter. Mr Carter was unconcerned about the latest figures showing Macau's gaming market registered 18 per cent growth for the first nine months compared with 40 per cent during the same period last year. 'It is impossible to keep 40 per cent growth as no new casino has opened this year. Next year, Galaxy will open three casinos with 500 tables,' he said. Compared with Las Vegas' 3 per cent growth in gaming revenue, he said Macau's market was 'healthy and stable'.