Las Vegas Sands Boosts Dividend to Sweeten Soft Earnings

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Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE: LVS) reported fourth-quarter and full-year 2012 results after markets closed today. For the quarter, the casino and resort operator posted adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.54 on revenues of $3.08 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported EPS of $0.57 on revenues of $2.54 billion. Fourth-quarter results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $0.59 and $3.01 billion in revenues.

For the full year, the Sands posted adjusted diluted EPS of $2.14 on revenues of $11.13 billion, compared with 2011 EPS of $2.02 on revenues of $9.41 billion. The consensus estimate called for for EPS of $2.23 on revenues of $11.08 billion.

On a GAAP basis, Sands reported quarterly diluted EPS of $0.53 and full-year EPS of $1.85.

To make the medicine taste a little better, the Sands upped its quarterly dividend by 40% to $0.35 starting with the current quarter.

Competitor Wynn Resorts Ltd. (NASDAQ: WYNN) is scheduled to report earnings tomorrow. The consensus estimates call for quarterly EPS of $1.25 on revenues of $1.27 billion. For the full year, the consensus estimate calls for EPS of $5.44 on revenues of $5.14 billion.

The company’s CEO said:

In Macao, we delivered record financial results, with outstanding growth and strong operating momentum reflected in every segment of our business. We welcomed a record eleven million visitors to our Cotai Strip Properties during the quarter, including five million in the month of December.

CEO Sheldon Adelson did not refer to the company’s Las Vegas properties in his remarks. Maybe that’s because adjusted property EBITDA in Las Vegas fell 34.7% year-over-year. Casino revenue fell 25.7% and food/beverage revenue fell 12.2%. Net revenues fell 9.2% and operating income fell 54.2% in Las Vegas.

The Sands did not offer guidance in its earnings release, but the consensus estimate for the first quarter calls for EPS of $0.64 on revenues of $3.17 billion. For the full year the consensus estimate calls for EPS of $2.64 on revenues of $12.75 billion.

The dividend rise worked its magic, as shares of Las Vegas Sands are trading up about 5% at $54.10 in after-hours trading today, in a 52-week range of $34.72 to $62.09. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $54.80 before today’s report.

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