Macau Strength Buoys Las Vegas Sands

Earnings rise 27% and match estimates.
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Las Vegas Sands

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reported a 27% increase in second-quarter earnings, matching analyst estimates, as strong results at the company's Macau casino offset a somewhat weak quarter at the Venetian casino in Las Vegas.

The company said Wednesday that its second-quarter earnings rose to $109.3 million, or 31 cents a share, from $86.4 million, or 24 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding certain items, the company earned 36 cents per share, matching the mean analyst estimate from Thomson First Call.

Net revenue increased 30% to $517 million from $398.8 million a year earlier. Analysts expected revenue of $520.7 million.

At the Venetian -- the company's only Las Vegas casino -- revenue rose 7% to $206.6 million, but the win percentage at the slots and table games fell from the year before. The lower win percentages, along with higher payroll costs, resulted in a 17% decline in operating income at the property to $42.8 million.

Business boomed at the Sands Macau, with casino revenue increasing 53% to $307.1 million. Operating income rose 36% to $101.6 million. The site is undergoing expansion that is set to open in September.

Macau, located near Hong Kong, is the only area of China in which casino gambling is legal. The region is projected to eventually surpass Las Vegas as the world's largest gaming market.

Las Vegas Sands is currently the only U.S. company that operates a casino in Macau, but


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opens its property there in September. Las Vegas Sands will open another Venetian casino in Macau next summer.

In after-hours trading, shares of Las Vegas Sands were down $2.78, or 4.3%, to $62.50.