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Wynn Resorts swings to profit in fourth quarter

Updated Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011 | 2:31 p.m.

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Steve Wynn

Wynn Resorts Ltd. of Las Vegas today posted a fourth-quarter profit, reversing a loss in the year-ago quarter, thanks to revenue increases in Macau and Las Vegas.

The company earned $114.2 million, or 91 cents per share, compared to a loss of $5.2 million, or 4 cents, in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Net revenue for Wynn Las Vegas and Encore came in at $325.1 million, up 8 percent.

Net casino revenue in Las Vegas increased 16 percent to $139.2 million. Room revenue was down 1.7 percent due to a remodeling project. The average daily rate of $235 was up 7.1 percent and occupancy was steady at nearly 82 percent.

Non-casino revenue of $230.9 million in Las Vegas was up 2.6 percent driven mainly by higher revenue from nightclubs -- mainly the new Surrender club.

Property EBITDA -- a profitability measure meaning earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization -- of $68.3 million was up 25 percent in Las Vegas.

Driven by a 79 percent hike in revenue at Wynn Macau, including the new Encore there, net revenue for the fourth quarter companywide was $1.237 billion, compared to $809.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2009.

"Encore at Wynn Macau, with its intimate atmosphere and higher-limit tables, has been very well received by Wynn customers and has greatly contributed to the growth in revenue at Wynn Macau," Wynn Resorts said in today's earnings announcement.

Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn told analysts during a conference call today that despite the improved numbers for Las Vegas, business in the nation's largest casino gambling market remains "lackluster."

"The indications of visitation and room rate and convention bookings are pointing up. It's still very lackluster and disappointing," Wynn said. "But I think '11 is surely better than '10."

Wynn said the company in China hopes to break ground in March or April on a new megaresort, which he called an "iconic building" that could cost about $2.5 billion based on current information. Plans for the resort were revealed last year and today, Wynn said it could open in late 2014 or early 2015.

"As far as China goes, Macau, that market is very robust and we're looking forward to getting under way in Cotai (in Macau), which we've finished designing. It's by far the best thing we've ever done," Wynn said.

As far as potential growth elsewhere, Wynn said the company is paying careful attention to opportunities in Japan -- but he didn't want to speculate on what may happen there.

Caesars Entertainment Corp., Las Vegas Sands Corp., MGM Resorts International and Penn National Gaming are among the U.S. companies that also have shown interest in the potential opening of the big Japanese market to casinos.

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