In the third quarter, Station saw revenues climb 11% to $242.9 million, driving EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, amortization, and depreciation) up 19% to a record $90.7 million. Meanwhile, excluding nonrecurring items, earnings per share jumped 31% to $0.46 per share -- ahead of the analyst expectation for earnings of $0.44 per share. Including items, earnings clocked in at $0.43 per share.
The surging Las Vegas locals market continued to drive results. Same-store revenues from Las Vegas operations jumped 14%, helping same-store EBITDA gain 27% over last year's quarter. At the same time, EBITDA margins climbed from 32.5% last year to an impressive 36.3%.
Looking ahead, things only get better. Station forecast fourth-quarter EBITDA of $94 million to $98 million. The company also expects earnings, excluding items, of $0.48 to $0.52 per share -- better than or equal to the $0.48-per-share analysts estimate. Reflecting the strong performance, Station also announced that it would up its quarterly dividend by 20% to $0.21 per share.
Station's performance reflects the strength of the Las Vegas locals market and is a good barometer of what we can expect from rival Boyd Gaming
That said, there really aren't too many ways that you can look at Station Casinos and call it cheap, but the bottom line is this: Station is a leader in one of the fastest-growing markets in the country and one with significant barriers to entry.
Fool contributor Jeff Hwang owns none of the companies mentioned above.