After strong first quarter, Station CFO optimistic about Las Vegas economy

Sun File Photo

The Green Valley Ranch resort in Henderson.

Station Casinos, the Las Vegas locals gaming giant whose properties include Green Valley Ranch, Red Rock Resort and Palace Station, reported its first-quarter earnings today.

Company: Station Casinos LLC

Revenue: $342.8 million, up 5 percent from the same quarter last year.

Earnings: $37.8 million, compared to net income of $15.3 million in the first quarter of 2014.

What it means: Station said its quarterly performance was assisted by strong consumer confidence and spending levels. The company noted in a statement that those factors helped drive a 4.5 percent same-store net revenue growth in Las Vegas.

All of Station’s main operating segments experienced notable operating revenue increases. Casino revenue rose 3.7 percent from last year to $234 million, while food and beverage revenue increased 6.8 percent and room revenue jumped 10.6 percent for the quarter.

“The positive momentum experienced in the second half of 2014 continued in the first quarter, and our results clearly demonstrate that trend,” Station chief financial officer Marc Falcone said in a conference call with analysts.

Falcone said Station’s Las Vegas properties have now seen three consecutive quarters of year-over-year increases in gaming revenue. He relayed an upbeat reading of the economic outlook for Las Vegas in general, citing growth in jobs and average hourly wages.

“We believe the increase in the average hourly wage is a reflection of the Las Vegas business community becoming more comfortable with the outlook for the local economy, together with the lower unemployment rate, which is pushing the supply-demand dynamic in favor of the employee,” he said on the conference call.

Another positive for the local economy highlighted by Falcone was the recent groundbreaking for the $4 billion Resorts World Las Vegas project, which should create thousands of jobs — and, theoretically, more potential customers for Station properties.

Outside Las Vegas, Station also runs two casinos for Native American tribes. Falcone said management fees from those properties increased 21 percent for the quarter.

Station’s outstanding principal balance for its long-term debt was $2 billion at the end of the quarter.