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Macau has helped Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS ) and other casino companies multiply their profits several times in the past. However, in 2011, Las Vegas Sands saw a drop in casino revenue growth in Macau to 42% from 58% in 2010.
If you ask me, this slowdown is nothing but a minor bump in the road, and the company's overall prospects still look bright. Read on to learn why.
Compared with the year-ago quarter, revenues improved by a robust 26% to $2.54 billion, and earnings of $0.57 per share matched estimates. But what's new is that the company, which was filing for bankruptcy three years ago, will now pay a dividend of $1 per share.
Thriving Asian destinations such as Macau and Singapore contributed to most of the company's revenue. But interestingly, Vegas -- where the growth scenario has been largely stagnant -- also put up a good show, as its contribution to the company's quarterly revenue rose by 9.3%.
Double- and triple-digit casino revenue growth in Macau properties -- the Four Seasons Hotel, Plaza Casino, and Venetian Macau -- was the highlight of the quarter. Casino revenue earned from Macau increased by 20% to $1.14 billion, which alone accounted for a significant 43% of Las Vegas Sands' total quarterly revenue.
And that's not all. Increasing disposable income of urban Chinese people and better tourism facilities, such as transport and infrastructure, are expected to continue nourishing the gambling market in Macau. Adding to that, casino revenues in Sands' Singapore business also posted a noteworthy 44% increase to $807 million, thanks to visits from Asian high rollers.
Sands has almost captured a fifth of Macau's gaming market already. In the next six weeks, the company will launch its largest resort development, Sands Cotai Central in Macau. Sands plans to start attracting high rollers through its junket representatives for this 13.7-million-square-foot property.
Also, the company plans to build a 4,000-room theme casino in Macau that will have separate towers for the masses and high rollers. This is one area where Sands has a distinct edge over its competitors, as it already owns the land and is merely awaiting the Chinese government's permission to start construction, compared with companies such as Wynn Resorts (Nasdaq: WYNN ) and MGM, which still don't have the lots.
Looks good to go
Sands' expansion spree does not stop here. The company wants to buy more land in Singapore to expand its casino business and add 1,500 more rooms. In future, Las Vegas Sands intends to enter into markets such as Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, and India. That sounds quite action-packed. This stock looks like a good performer in the long run.
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