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Las Vegas Sands mulls sale of 49 percent stake in retail mall

Las Vegas Sands subsidiary Marina Bay Sands is looking to sell 49 percent of its stake in luxury mall, the Shoppes  for US$3 billion to US$3.5 billion, local media reports.

The sale would mark one of the most expensive malls ever sold in the world, said LVS chairman and chief executive Sheldon Adelson in an earnings call last week.

The sale however, would be subject to approval from the Singaporean government.

"We expect to receive a very significant price for the 49 per cent we are willing to sell. We are looking at potentially US$3 billion to US$3.5 billion," said Adelson.

The proceeds of the sale could be used in the company’s next investment in Japan or South Korea, he added.

However, the casino operator is yet to lodge a formal request for approval, says Chew Tiong Heng, executive director for infrastructure planning and management at the Singapore Tourism Board, quoted by the Straits Times.

Cheong said while the price is "on the very high side", it is not an impossible deal.

"Sovereign wealth funds or a consortium of large private equity firms may be interested. There is a lack of available good-quality retail mall stock here. The Shoppes is one such property," he said.

LVS posted a 5.6 percent year-on-year increase in net income for the fourth quarter of 2016 to $607 million.

The casino operator, which owns and operates casinos in Las Vegas, Pennsylvania, Singapore and Macau, saw a combined total of $3.1 billion in revenue in the quarter, a rise of 7.4 percent year-on-year.

Revenue for the full year was $11.4 billion, slightly lower than $11.7 billion in 2015, while net income decreased 15.1 percent to $1.7 billion in 2016.

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