Profit from Marina Bay Sands casino more than doubles in Q4

People walking past the casino at Marina Bay Sands. Las Vegas Sands Corp., the world's largest casino operator, posted fourth-quarter earnings that beat analysts' estimates as profit in Singapore doubled. -- ST PHOTO: MUGILAN RAJASEGERAN
People walking past the casino at Marina Bay Sands. Las Vegas Sands Corp., the world's largest casino operator, posted fourth-quarter earnings that beat analysts' estimates as profit in Singapore doubled. -- ST PHOTO: MUGILAN RAJASEGERAN

LOS ANGELES (Bloomberg) - Las Vegas Sands Corp., the world's largest casino operator, posted fourth-quarter earnings that beat analysts' estimates as its profit in Singapore doubled.

Marina Bay Sands accounted for more than a third of of the growth in Las Vegas Sands' EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization).

Adjusted property EBITDA from Marina Bay Sands more than doubled, reaching a property record of US$518.5 million (S$701.70 million), MarketWatch reported. Revenue jumped 27 per cent to US$838.6 million.

The gain in Singapore included a US$90.1 million benefit linked to a property tax settlement, as well as growth in mass market gambling there. That helped counter the drop in Macau.

Las Vegas Sands overall earnings totaled 92 cents a share, excluding items, according to a statement Wednesday from the company. That compared with the 78-cent average of 17 analysts' estimates.

Revenue fell 6.6 per cent to US$3.42 billion, missing analysts estimates, as betting in Macau slumped.

Total betting revenue in Macau, the world's largest gambling market, fell 2.6 per cent to US$44 billion last year amid a government crackdown on corruption that has caused high rollers to shun the region's baccarat tables. That was the first annual decline since the government opened up the Macau casino industry to foreign investment in 2002.

The trend worsened as the year came to a close, with December casino revenue in Macau falling 30 per cent, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. The casino market there is in the midst of a building boom, with new resorts costing more than US$22 billion scheduled to open through 2017.

Sands, controlled by Sheldon Adelson, is the largest player in Macau, the only place in China where casino betting is legal, and the first to report fourth-quarter profits.

Adelson, 81, chairman and chief executive officer, will take over the role of CEO of Sands China Ltd., the company's Hong Kong-listed subsidiary, replacing Ed Tracy, who is returning to the U.S. in March, the company said.

Sands revenue in Las Vegas fell 6 per cent to US$363 million.

While the US dollar's climb is reducing profit at U.S. companies from Procter & Gamble Co. to Pfizer Inc. and Microsoft Corp., more than 77 per cent of Standard & Poor's 500 Index members have still beaten analysts' estimates so far this earnings season, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.