Las Vegas Sands Corp. 1Q profit jumps

AP News

4/25/2012 6:50:36 PM - AP News

Las Vegas Sands Corp., the casino company run by billionaire chief executive Sheldon Adelson, said Wednesday it more than doubled its profits during the first quarter thanks to growth in Singapore and improvement at its properties in Sin City and Pennsylvania.

The Las Vegas-based company with resorts in Macau, Singapore and elsewhere reported net income of $489.9 million and revenue that jumped nearly 31 percent to a company record of $2.76 billion.

Sands' gambling revenue in Singapore jumped 51 percent to $701.3 million, and nearly doubled in Las Vegas to $158.7 million.

Excluding one-time items, Sands had adjusted earnings of 70 cents per share.

That handily beat Wall Street's expectations. Analysts polled by FactSet forecast adjusted earnings of 60 cents per share on revenue of $2.6 billion.

"We're cooking on all cylinders," Adelson told investors on a conference call.

Sands' shares rose slightly just after the earnings were reported after the closing bell on Wall Street, then dipped 45 cents below their closing price of $58.78 on Wednesday. The shares rose $2.38, or 4 percent, during the regular trading session.

Sands said its board declared a cash dividend of 25 cents per share, to be paid June 29 to those holding shares June 20.

Sands credited baccarat with increasing the amount its customers gambled in Las Vegas. The amount wagered at its Palazzo and Venetian resorts rose 27.8 percent to $609 million, and Sands won a higher amount from those wagers than it did during the same quarter one year ago. The 91 percent jump in gambling revenue made up for more spending on freebies for players, a drop in food and beverage revenue and an increase of less than 1 percent in room revenue.

In Macau, the Chinese gambling enclave where Sands earns most of it money, revenue increased 25 percent to $1.45 billion.

Sands opened the first phase of a new development, Sands Cotai, on April 11.

Adelson touted Las Vegas Sands as the first casino company to post more than $1 billion in quarterly earnings before taxes, interest, depreciation and amortization. He said he expects to keep setting records as the company looks to build more projects in Asia and Europe.

Adelson said he plans to meet with his board soon to make a decision about building a casino in Spain, either in Barcelona or Madrid.

The project would call for four casino-resorts built over 9 years at a cost of $2 billion to $3 billion each, Adelson said. He said there were no blueprints yet.

"We're on the cusp of having a decision," he said.

Sands is also closely eyeing Korea, Japan, Vietnam and Taiwan for possible development _ if governments in each of those countries agree.

Adelson said Sands wouldn't go into any project unless it projects cash-on-cash return of 20 percent or more, and said it wouldn't start building any projects until they are fully financed.

"We've already gotten caught in that mess," Adelson said. "We're not going to make that same mistake again."

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Oskar Garcia can be reached on Twitter at http://twitter.com/oskargarcia.