World-leading credit agencies rating Saipan casino


Fitch Group, Standard and Poor, and Moody’s were the top rating agencies that visited Saipan last week to meet with the Saipan casino, Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC, and also held meetings with casino regulators, Saipan Tribune learned.

Regulators were asked last week to meet with these rating agencies, which are seen as the “Big 3” most powerful credit agencies in the world, in private over financial matters.

The very fact that the agencies were on island and meeting with the casino may have posed a sensitive issue for the Hong Kong Stock Market, Saipan Tribune learned, because the casino company is required to report such activity to the market.

Whether the casino did or did not, they asked regulators to not divulge the rating agencies’ presence on island.

However, the Saipan Casino Commission could not meet unless they announced they were meeting, per CNMI law.

The agencies essentially aim to rate Imperial Pacific’s credit worthiness as the casino company looks to finance its mammoth casino project on island.

Representatives from Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, and SC Laurie also visited last week.

Regulators assume these financial institutions will help finance the casino project.

Regulators are also concerned whether the casino is on schedule to complete the Grand Mariana Casino Resort’s gaming operations in Garapan as scheduled by December this year.

In this process, regulators have been informed by the casino that this project will have an estimated value of $550 million.

In turn, regulators have asked the casino how they would finance the project.

The casino has shown regulators preliminarily how their finances are secured and have raised $300 million so far, which has been used for operations.

For a large project like the Grand Mariana, regulators do not expect the casino to have the $550 million in hand and expect the casino to float a bond or go through some debt or equity financing method.

Dennis B. Chan | Reporter
Dennis Chan covers education, environment, utilities, and air and seaport issues in the CNMI. He graduated with a degree in English Literature from the University of Guam. Contact him at

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