Rising Tide at Vegas Sands - TheStreet

Updated from 9:03 a.m. EST

Las Vegas Sands

(LVS) - Get Report

reported strong fourth-quarter earnings growth and beat Wall Street estimates, thanks to its operations in Las Vegas and Macao.

In its first earnings report since going public Dec. 14, the casino operator said net income jumped to $69.3 million, or 21 cents a share, vs. $7.7 million, or 2 cents a share, a year ago.

Net income in the latest quarter, which ended Dec. 31, included a $1.2 million loss related to a swimming pool renovation at the Venetian resort, $9.4 million of overseas development expenses and a $13.7 million income tax benefit related to a December change in the company's tax status.

Excluding those items, Las Vegas Sands had adjusted net income of $63.5 million, or 19 cents a share, compared with $8.2 million, or 3 cents a share, a year earlier. Both unadjusted and adjusted EPS beat the 16-cent Wall Street consensus from Thomson First Call.

Revenue came in at a record $347.6 million, more than double the $173.4 million a year earlier, but less than the $363.6 million consensus estimate. The company attributed revenue growth to last May's opening of the Sands Macao casino in China and to increased hotel and casino revenue at the Venetian resort in Las Vegas. Partially offsetting those increases was a reduction in revenue from the sale of its Grand Canal Shops mall last May.

"Business trends continued to be strong throughout 2004, with strong gaming revenue trends in Macau and significant increases in room rates at the Venetian in Las Vegas," said William Weidner, the company's president and chief operating officer. "In particular, the fourth quarter of 2004 reflects a continuation from the third quarter of strong gaming revenues at the Sands Macao and continuing growth in our convention-based room business in Las Vegas."

Shares were off $1.61, or 3.2%, at $48.19.