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October 2, 2014

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Las Vegas Sands narrows 2Q loss

Booming business in China and a new casino in Singapore led second-quarter revenue up 51 percent for Las Vegas Sands Corp. and helped narrow the casino developer and operator's quarterly loss, the company said Wednesday.

For the three months that ended June 30, the company reported a loss to common shareholders of $4.7 million, or a penny per share. That's far better than last year's loss of $222.2 million, or 34 cents per share.

Sands operates the popular Venetian and Palazzo casinos in Las Vegas as well as casinos in the Chinese gambling enclave of Macau, in Singapore and in Bethlehem, Pa. Nearly 80 percent of its revenue came from Asian business.

Its revenue rose to $1.59 billion from $1.06 billion a year earlier.

"Our operations are in outstanding shape, and we are making positive additions to our management team," said Sheldon Adelson, Sands' billionaire chief executive, who is the company's largest shareholder. "We've also reduced our debt levels. and our balance sheet has nearly $4 billion of cash. But who's counting?"

Sands said it had $3.69 billion in unrestricted cash and short-term investments as of June 30. It also had $96.6 million on hand for construction and debt in Macau and for construction in Singapore.

The company reported long-term debt of $10.4 billion, with $90.2 million due in 2010 and $1 billion due in 2011.

Excluding one-time items, the casino company's adjusted profit was $129.3 million or 17 cents per share, much better than the adjusted earnings of 9 cents per share that Wall Street analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters forecast on average. Sands met analysts' average revenue forecast.

Sands' results included $23.4 million in dividends paid to holders of preferred stock and $23.1 million for the redemption value of certain preferred stock held by Adelson's family.

Analyst Joseph Greff of J.P. Morgan said the company's performance beat very high expectations and was especially strong in Singapore, where the Marina Bay Sands casino opened in April. Sands reported $216.4 million in revenue there, including $190.8 million from gambling.

"These are pretty strong results for a property that was only open 65 days in the quarter, without a lot of non-gaming amenities," Greff told investors.

The Singapore hotel was nearly 55 percent occupied at an average room rate of $226 per night.

The company's shares climbed 80 cents, nearly 3.2 percent, to $26.08 in morning trading Wednesday. They closed Tuesday at $25.28.

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AP Business Writer Ashley Heher contributed reporting from Chicago.