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Macau helps boost Wynn earnings

20 Oct 2011

By Chris Sieroty
LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Wynn Resorts Ltd, owner of Wynn Las Vegas, Encore Resort and properties in Macau, continued to benefit from its resorts in the Chinese territory. A 41.7 percent increase in revenues at Wynn Macau helped return the company to profitability in the third quarter.

Wynn Resorts on Wednesday reported earnings of $127.1 million, or $1.01 a share, compared with a loss of $33.5 million, or 27 cents a share, a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, the Las Vegas-based company would have earned $132.6 million, or $1.05 a share, in the third quarter, up from $48.7 million, or 39 cents a share, for the same period last year.

The casino company significantly missed Wall Street analyst estimates of $1.18 per share, though revenue rose 30 percent to $1.3 billion from $1 billion, which was in-line with analyst forecast.

Wynn shares fell $5.52, or 4.24 percent, to $124.45 in after hours trading Wednesday.

"The numbers speak for themselves," Steve Wynn, chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts said in a conference call with analysts Wednesday.

Wynn credited the company's Macau properties for generating three-quarters of the company's revenues. In the first 18 days of October, Macau has generated $73 million in revenue, compared to about $20 million in Las Vegas, he said.

Revenue in Macau climbed 41.7 percent to $951.4 million, compared to $671.4 million in the third quarter of 2010.

The company reported Macau EBITDA, or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, of $296 million, up 49.5 percent from $198 million in the same period a year earlier.

"We feel secure enough in our property in Macau," Wynn said.

The company did not update its construction plans or announce a completion date for its casino-resort project on Macau's Cotai Strip, though Chief Financial Officer Matt Maddox said the company expects to work out financing next year.

In September, the Macau government approved the company's plans to develop 51 acres on the Cotai Strip.

Wynn said his company is well aware of the need to respect the process and pace of the Macau government.

"We are encouraged, but we're a part of that choreography," he said. "We're part of that schedule."

In Las Vegas, revenues from the company's operations were $346.9 million, 3.7 percent higher than the same period last year.

EBITDA was $85.1 million in the third quarter, up 11.3 percent from $76.5 million in same period last year. But the gaming company's revenues from gambling fell 8.3 percent to $126.9 million, a decline Wynn attributed to a smaller hold from baccarat in Las Vegas.

"Everything was normal outside of baccarat," Wynn said.

Nongambling revenue, which includes hotel rooms, bars, restaurants and other amenities at the company's Wynn and Encore resorts rose 11.1 percent, to $265.9 million.

Room revenue was up 18.7 percent to $89.7 million, with an average daily room rate of $240 at Wynn Las Vegas and Encore. Revenue per available room was $212 in the third quarter, a 14.9 percent jump.

Wynn told analysts the company is considering its options should casino-style gambling be approved in Massachusetts or Florida.

"Neither jurisdiction has made a final decision," he said. "We are looking at it. We are feeling very positive."

Wynn said the company has to consider if either market fits their brand and if they add value to the company and its shareholders.

The company said it had $1.8 billion in cash and $3.1 billion in total debt as of Sept. 30, the end of the third quarter.

The company also declared a cash dividend of 50 cents per share for shareholders of record as of Nov. 2.

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