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Fitch affirms Las Vegas Sands on strong financial profile

Fitch Ratings on Oct. 11 affirmed the long-term issuer default ratings of Las Vegas Sands Corp. and its subsidiaries at BBB-, citing the group's strong financial profile.

The rating agency also affirmed the senior unsecured debt of Las Vegas Sands and of its Macao-based subsidiary Sands China Ltd. at BBB-, as well as the BBB senior secured revolver and term loan of Singapore's Marina Bay Sands Pte. Ltd. Fitch assigned a BBB rating to Marina Bay Sands' new senior secured delayed draw term loan, as well as a BBB- rating to Las Vegas Sands' senior unsecured revolver.

The agency said it withdrew the BBB- issuer default rating of subsidiary Las Vegas Sands LLC following the repayment of all the debt of the entity.

Fitch said the rating outlook on the group remains positive on its expectation that Las Vegas Sands can absorb a large scale development such as a Japan integrated resort without material long-term deterioration in the leverage credit metrics or liquidity strain.

In August, the company dropped its bid to open a casino-resort in Osaka and instead planned to focus its development on either Tokyo or Yokohama. Fitch said Las Vegas Sands is in a good position to bid on an integrated resort license in Japan.

Meanwhile, Fitch said the expiration of the Macao concession in June 2022 remains the main remaining credit risk preventing an upgrade of Las Vegas Sands' long-term issuer default rating to BBB. The agency said Las Vegas Sands is on its way to boosting its base mass and premium mass-market position in Macao when it completes its $2.2 billion investment to convert Sands Cotai Central into the Londoner and to build two additional suite towers.

Fitch also noted that Las Vegas Sands will spend $3.3 billion in Singapore in the medium term to expand Marina Bay Sands with a new hotel tower and incremental gaming and MICE, or meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibitions, space.

Fitch said it could raise the ratings if Las Vegas Sands sees greater clarity with respect to the renewal of the Macau concession or if the company maintains its existing financial policies and leverage remains below 3.5x and 3.0x on a gross and net basis.

The agency said a downgrade is unlikely in the near term given the company's strong financial profile. However, it said a negative rating pressure could still happen if leverage exceeds 4.0x on a gross basis and 3.5x on a net basis for an extended period. This could occur if the company pursues multiple large-scale projects at once or if it veers away from its articulated financial policies.