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Best of Howard Stutz

Gaming Guru

Howard Stutz
 

Las Vegas Sands: Strong growth in Q2 profit

17 July 2014

LAS VEGAS -- Maybe the investment community is expecting too much from Las Vegas Sands Corp.

The casino operator Wednesday credited another strong quarter from the company’s casinos in Macau with producing double-digit increases in both revenues and earnings.

But the figures didn’t meet analyst projections.

Las Vegas Sands said its net income for the second quarter increased 26.7 percent, to $671.4 million. Earnings per share increased 29.7 percent, to $83 cents per share. Overall net revenue increased 11.8 percent, to $3.62 billion.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters predicted Las Vegas Sands would produce earnings per share of 90 cents and revenue of $3.8 billion in the quarter than ended June 30.

“We remain bullish on Macau, given the persistent strength in the higher-margin mass market segment,” Susquehanna International Group gaming analyst Rachael Rothman told investors before the company reported results for the quarter.

Company Chairman Sheldon Adelson said Las Vegas Sands’ properties in Macau produced $801.3 million in cash flow during the quarter.

“In Macau, we delivered strong growth in the mass and non-gaming segments of our business,” Adelson said in a statement. “We welcomed nearly 17 million visits during the quarter to our Macau property portfolio.”

Overall, the company’s Macau casinos collected $2.38 billion in revenue during the quarter, a 15 percent increase from a year ago. The region accounted for 65.7 percent of the company’s overall revenue.

The figures came despite Macau’s 3.7 percent decline in gaming revenue in June, the region’s first monthly gaming revenue decline in more than five years. A slowing economy and a crackdown on corruption on the Chinese mainland cut into business from high-end gamblers.

Analysts also said June results were hurt diversion of high-rollers from baccarat tables.

“Clearly the World Cup had a negative impact on overall gross gaming revenue in June, in particular in the VIP segment,” Adelson said, adding that revenue from the segment was down 20 percent in June.

Rothman said the end of the World Cup means “distracted VIP gamblers (will) return to Macau, which should further boost overall gross gaming revenue.”

But over the entire quarter Las Vegas Sands’ properties led all of Macau, Adelson said.

“During the quarter, we again outpaced the market in terms of gaming revenue growth,” Adelson said. “Our gross gaming revenue was up 12 percent, versus a market that was up 5 percent.”

Las Vegas Sands operates four developments in Macau and next year will add the $2.8 billion The Parisian on the Cotai Strip. The company’s Sands Cotai Central property grew revenue 34 percent in the second quarter.

“When I created my vision for the Cotai Strip, I was roundly criticized and belittled,” Adelson said. “Today, the market now knows that the future of Macau is the Cotai Strip.”

Las Vegas Sands’ two Strip resorts — The Venetian Macao Resort-Hotel and Palazzo — combined for revenue of $353.1 million, an increase of 2.1 percent.

The Marina Bay Sands in Singapore reported revenue of $804.7 million, an increase of 8.8 percent.

Adelson said the Singapore casino has become an “important reference site for emerging jurisdictions that are considering large-scale integrated resort developments,” such as Japan.

“Of course the value of Marina Bay Sands to our shareholders is much more than its operating results and financial success,” Adelson said.