Las Vegas Sands turns profit, but revenue misses

By Oskar Garcia, AP

LAS VEGAS–Soaring revenue in Macau and Singapore helped Las Vegas Sands Corp. end 2010 with a turnaround — profit of US$273 million for the fourth quarter compared with a loss of US$113.9 million a year earlier. The company’s billionaire CEO, Sheldon Adelson, told investors during a conference call that he sees no reason the company can’t keep growing. “There’s no reason to believe any fundamentals of our business are changing, so we have every expectation that this growth trajectory will continue,” he said. “But make no mistake about it; we will not rest on our laurels.” Adelson said Sands’ newest casino in Singapore is a perfect showcase for government officials in various countries that are considering allowing casino companies to enter their markets. He expects Sands to be favored to win bids to build resorts in Japan, Korea and Taiwan. “We will continue to aggressively pursue new opportunities, which will fill our development pipeline and help us maintain our position as the pace-setter for growth in our industry,” Adelson said. Adelson said Sands’ revenue of US$2.02 billion for the quarter that ended New Year’s Eve was a record. But even a 56.9 percent increase left Sands short of the US$2.05 billion in revenue analysts expected, according to FactSet. Sands shares fell US$3.36, or 6.7 percent, to US$46.92 after hours Thursday. They had ended regular trading at US$50.28, up 85 cents, or 1.7 percent. Sands’ profit of 34 cents per share compared with a loss of 17 cents per share during the same quarter in 2009. Its adjusted earnings of 42 cents per share surpassed the average forecast from analysts surveyed by FactSet for profit of 38 cents per share. Sands’ quarterly revenue in Macau rose 13.1 percent to US$1.09 billion, compared with US$964.1 million during the fourth quarter of 2009. In Singapore, the company’s Marina Bay Sands took in US$560.4 million during the fourth quarter after opening in April. Adelson said the Macau gambling market has surpassed expectations, and Singapore is showing great potential. “Early estimates on the size of the market in Singapore have clearly been conservative,” he said. “The Singapore market is still emerging, and as we near the completion of our property’s original master plan — which includes its own subway stop in 2012 — the market is all but certain to grow.”