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Friday, January 20, 2012

Packer's Melco Crown eyes $2b in new debt - 19th January 2012


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Casino James Packer Melco Crown City of Dreams Altira Macau Lawrence Ho Gaming Crown Casino Australian Casinos

James Packer’s Melco Crown joint venture, one of the six licensed casino operators in Macau, is looking to raise up to $US2 billion ($1.92 billion) in debt to fund a new project in the former Portuguese colony, according to sources.

Proceeds will finance Melco's plans to build Macau Studio City, a $US2.5 billionn-plus gaming and entertainment resort on the developing Cotai strip, said one source.

The debt funding will feature a loan-cum-bond combo with the loan expected to be for around $US1.25 billion and the US dollar bond for the remainder, according to another source. The borrower is in discussions with banks for the loan financing and is seeking underwritten commitments.

Melco's last visit to the loan markets was in May 2011 when it raised $US1.2 billlion through a dual-tranche financing comprising an $US800 million term loan and a $US400 million revolver. The term loan amortises to 50 per cent and has a two-year grace period. The blended average life is 4.1 years.

ANZ, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Bank of China Macau, Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank were coordinating lead arrangers and bookrunners on the fully underwritten facility. The deal paid top-level blended all-ins of 208-308 basis points over Libor.

In May 2010, Melco raised $US600 million through an eight-year non-call four global bond paying a coupon of 10.5 per cent.

Melco is a joint venture between Mr Packer's Crown and Lawrence Ho, son of the Macau gaming mogul Stanley Ho. Crown has a 33.4 per cent stake in Melco Crown Entertainment, which runs the Altira Macau and City of Dreams casinos.

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