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Sands CEO says the company has no projects planned for the oversaturated U.S. market and will in turn focus on its rising stars in Macau, which bypassed Vegas to become the gaming capital of the world this year.

Las Vegas Sands Corp., the casino company led by billionaire Sheldon Adelson, rose as much as 6.6 percent after posting faster-than-expected growth in Macau.

Las Vegas Sands climbed 7.2 percent to $55.25 at the close in New York, the biggest gain since October. The company reported yesterday that fourth-quarter revenue in Macau rose 48 percent to $1.97 billion.

“They continue to outperform the market in China,” said Chad Mollman, a Morningstar Inc. analyst who recommends the stock. “Their new Sands Cotai Central is taking market share from casinos on the Macau peninsula, which is driving the outperformance.”

A pickup in gambling in Macau, the company’s largest market, countered sluggish results for the industry in Nevada, where Las Vegas Sands operates the Venetian and Palazzo resorts, and another drop in Singapore. While sales rose for the company in Macau, revenue at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore fell 11 percent after sliding 21 percent the previous three months.

Fourth-quarter revenue, including results from the U.S., gained 21 percent to $3.08 billion, the Las Vegas-based company said yesterday in a statement, beating the $3.03 billion average of 22 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Profit of 54 cents excluding items missed the 60-cent average of estimates, on weaker table winnings in Singapore and Las Vegas.

Fourth Quarter

Fourth-quarter net income totaled $434.8 million, or 53 cents a share, little changed from $435.3 million, or 39 cents, a year earlier, the company said.

The stock added 8 percent last year. Sands China Ltd., the company’s majority-owned Macau subsidiary, rose 0.3 percent to HK$39.10 in Hong Kong.

Sands China posted a 52 percent jump in fourth-quarter profit as its newest resort drew more Chinese visitors. Net income for the Hong Kong-listed unit rose to $467 million from $306.7 million a year ago, according to yesterday’s statement.

Las Vegas Sands also raised its quarterly dividend by 40 percent to 35 cents a share, from 25 cents previously. In November the company declared a $2.75 special dividend that netted Adelson, the largest shareholder, about $1.2 billion.

On a conference call, Adelson, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer, reiterated plans to sell Sands’ Asian shopping malls, which he said would be worth as much as $10 billion. The company may wait until additional retail projects are completed, he said.

Cotai Expansion

Sands has started construction on a $2.6 billion Paris- themed resort on the Cotai Strip in Macau. It’s scheduled to open in late 2015. The company has also requested government approval for a 1,500-room hotel addition in Singapore, Adelson said on the call.

Adelson also said he isn’t pursuing projects in the U.S. The company is seeking a buyer for its Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, casino people with knowledge of the situation said this month.

“We are of the opinion that a lot of the U.S. markets have been oversaturated or are about to be oversaturated,” Adelson said. “We don’t want to compete with the good job that Caesars is doing in the riverboat and the small casino market. We’re the experts in integrated resorts.”

Editors: Rob Golum and Niamh Ring.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christopher Palmeri in Los Angeles at [email protected]. To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at [email protected].

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Tags: las vegas sands, macau

Photo credit: The Marina Bay Sands sparkles in Singapore. Kenji Ooi / Facebook

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