MGM Resorts 1Q profit leaps on Macau strength

Kin Cheung / AP

This Feb. 15, 2011, file photo shows a promotional screen with the Chinese characters for MGM displayed at the MGM Grand Macau casino resort, in Macau. MGM Resorts reported quarterly earnings on Tuesday, April 29, 2014.

MGM Resorts International's first-quarter net income soared, bolstered by continued strength in Macau and improved room bookings on the Las Vegas Strip.

Chairman and CEO Jim Murren said in a statement that MGM Resorts is increasing U.S. convention business at its properties in the middle of the week and hosting a strong slate of events on weekends.

At CityCenter — the massive development in Las Vegas that is owned jointly with Dubai World — revenue from resort operations edged up 2 percent to $313 million.

MGM China — which runs the MGM Macau casino-resort and is developing a new Cotai resort — reported that revenue rose 26 percent. Macau is the only place in China where gambling is legal. MGM Cotai is on pace to open in early 2016.

For the period ended March 31, the casino operator earned $108.2 million, or 21 cents per share. A year earlier it earned $6.5 million, or 1 cent per share.

The current quarter included a $3.5 million income tax benefit. The prior-year period reflected a $30.4 million income tax provision.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected earnings of 8 cents per share for the Las Vegas company.

Revenue climbed 12 percent to $2.63 billion from $2.35 billion, topping Wall Street's average estimate $2.57 billion.

Occupancy improved on the Las Vegas Strip to 92 percent from 90 percent. The average daily rate for rooms rose to $147 from $132. And revenue per available room, a key lodging industry metric, increased to $135 from $118.

Food and beverage revenue on the Las Vegas Strip climbed 6 percent on more convention and banquet business and the opening of some new retail outlets.

MGM Resorts' stock rose 78 cents, or 3.4 percent, to $23.80 in Tuesday premarket trading about 20 minutes before the market opening.