to join Macau's casino rush - 27th January 2007
The Sydney Morning Herald)
HONG KONG: Richard Branson's Virgin
Group was close to securing a 20 hectare site
in Macau to build a $US3 billion ($3.8 billion)
casino complex which could add to the city's rise
as the world's gambling capital, a newspaper reported
flamboyant British entrepreneur, whose business
empire has interests ranging from airlines to
music and mobile phones, was close to acquiring
the site in the Chinese special administrative
region, the Financial Times reported.
hope to get all the boxes ticked in the next couple
of months and start developing the site soon afterwards,"
Sir Richard was quoted by the paper as saying.
newspaper said Sir Richard had held talks with
Macau's leader, chief executive Edmund Ho, on
Wednesday to try to confirm arrangements for the
planned entertainment complex featuring three
hotels and a casino, which could open by 2010.
Richard was quoted as saying the cost of development
would be $US3 billion, funded "at least partially
with a mix of Virgin equity and debt financing
from international banks", the paper reported.
It added Sir Richard would recoup his upfront
costs within 18 months of opening.
Richard could opt for a branded joint-venture
arrangement with one of six groups which held
rights to run casinos in the former Portuguese
enclave, the newspaper added.
these is Australia's Publishing & Broadcasting
Ltd, which is building three casinos in the Chinese
with joint venture partner Melco International,
is spending $US3.3 billion on the developments,
which include the City of Dreams development on
the Cotai strip, scheduled to open at the end
has just dethroned Las Vegas as the world's biggest
gambling centre, with some analysts predicting
its gambling revenue could more than double to
$US14 billion by 2010.
of the world's top gaming firms, the Las Vegas
Sands Corp and Wynn Resorts, have already built
mega-casinos in Macau and other world-class competitors
including MGM Mirage are due to pile in later