World Series of Poker Europe

Las Vegas Sands Reports First Quarter Declines Despite Growth in the U.S.

The Venetian
  • The Las Vegas Sands reports lower earnings despite strong results in its U.S. properties.

The Las Vegas Sands released its first quarter earnings for 2016 to its investors, and, to little surprise, revenue operating income, and net income are all down when compared to the same period a year ago.

The company is the owner of Las Vegas strip casinos The Venetian and The Palazzo, the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem, and several casino resorts in Macau, China, and Singapore, Philippines.

Net revenue for the group dropped a staggering 9.8 percent from $3.01 billion in the first quarter of 2015 to $2.72 billion in the first quarter of 2016. This is despite showing healthy gains for its U.S. holdings with net revenue from its Las Vegas properties increasing by 2.3 percent ($384.9 million Q1 2016 vs. $376.4 million Q1 2015) and net revenue from the Sands Bethlehem increasing by 8.6 percent ($138.7 million Q1 2016 vs. $127.7 million Q1 2015).

The picture becomes worse when looking at operating and net income, since fixed costs did not decline despite the fact that the revenue driving the company did.

Operating income for the group decreased by 17.6 percent from $711.1 million in the first three months of 2015 to $585.6 million in the first quarter of 2015. As was the case with revenue, the U.S. properties performed well, with the blame for the decline being on poorer performance from the properties in Asia.

Big Decline from Singapore

One of the biggest drivers to this decline for the group was a 41.7-percent reduction in operating income for the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore from $319 million in the first quarter of 2015 to $186 million in the first quarter of 2016. The group primarily blames the decline on strengthening of the U.S. Dollar compared to the Singapore Dollar, along with low win percentage on rolling chip play.

Net income for Las Vegas Sands declined by a big 37.5 percent from $511.9 million in the first quarter of 2015 to $320.2 million in the first quarter of 2016. This contributed to a similar decline in diluted earnings per share, something very noteworthy to investors, from $0.64 per share in Q1 2015 to $0.40 per share in Q1 2016.

Despite the lower diluted earnings per share, the company increased the amount paid to investors in dividends by 10.8 percent when compared to the first quarter of 2015 to $0.72 per share.

Less Net Income from Macau, Too

In addition to showing a worse performance in Singapore, the company also contributed less net income from its Macau-based properties as well. This is of little surprise considering the entire casino industry in the city has been experiencing declines every month for almost two years after experiencing years of growth in the region.

Online gaming adversary and Chariman and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Sheldon Adelson explained to the company's investors there are signs of stabilization in Macau.

"The operating environment in Macau remained challenging during the quarter; but we do see signs of stabilization, particularly in the mass market," Adelson stated.

Regardless of the declines experienced during the first quarter of 2016 and the huge $9.51 billion debt as of March 31, 2016, the company appears to still be strong with net positive results and $1.70 billion in cash on hand. The company looks to expand into the future with capital expenditures during the first quarter of 2016 totaling $343.6 million, with the most notable investments taking place in Macau where they invested $307.3 million into the city primarily for The Parisian Macao, which is expected to open its doors over the summer.

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