Growth in Macau lifts Wynn Resorts 1Q profit

Ulf Buchholz

The Wynn Macau is seen Aug. 17, 2011.

Wynn Resorts' first-quarter net income grew 12 percent as strong gambling revenues from its growing operations in Macau offset a small decline in gambling income at its Las Vegas casinos.

CEO Steve Wynn said Thursday that he feels the economy is turning a corner in hard-hit Las Vegas, where the company operates the Wynn and the Encore resorts. The company also operates Wynn and Encore casinos in Macau, the Chinese gambling enclave, and is working on a $4 billion resort there dubbed Wynn Palace that is expected to open in the first half of 2016.

Occupancy at the resorts in Macau climbed to 98 percent from 94 percent the year before.

Gambling revenue fell 12 percent at the Las Vegas properties, but the hotel business did better. Occupancy rose, to 88 percent from 83 percent. Retail and entertainment revenue — which includes spending at casino shops and spas — rose more than 9 percent.

The casino operator reported that it earned $227 million, or $2.22 per share, for the period ending March 31. A year earlier it posted profit of $203 million, or $2 per share, during that period.

Excluding one-time items, earnings came to $2.32 per share, beating analysts' prediction of $2.06 per share.

Revenue rose 10 percent, to $1.51 billion from $1.38 billion. Wall Street predicted $1.49 billion, according to FactSet.

Wynn's stock rose 3.1 percent to $213 in aftermarket trading. The stock closed up $2.74, or 1.3 percent, to $206.63 during regular trading Thursday.