Las Vegas Sands fourth-quarter profit up on Asia

Wed Jan 30, 2013 4:59pm EST

* Net in quarter rises 35.8 percent to $434.8 mln

* Per share profit 53 cents vs 39 cents

* Company cites strong Cotai property ramp-up

LOS ANGELES, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Casino operator Las Vegas Sands Corp, owned by billionaire Sheldon Adelson, on Wednesday said fourth-quarter earnings rose 35.8 percent from a year ago, helped by a strong performance in China, boosting its share price after-hours.

Sands said fourth-quarter net income rose to $434.8 million, while earnings per share rose 35.9 percent to 53 cents from 39 cents a year earlier.

Revenues rose 20.9 percent to $3.08 billion.

Sands, which operates resorts like the Venetian in Las Vegas, also showed improved results at its Singapore casino.

"They topped revenue forecasts and they're doing extremely well in China, where the company continues to outperform the overall market," said Chad Mollman, analyst with Morningstar Inc.

Middle-class or "mass market" gamblers are refueling growth in Macau, the only place in China where gambling is legal. Sands said it had a record 11 million visitors at its Cotai strip properties during the latest quarter.

Sands and rivals like Wynn and MGM have ridden the wave of fast growth on the back of high-stake "VIP" bettors there for the past few years, helping to offset stagnation in Las Vegas.

But "VIP" bettors began scaling back in recent months amid a weakening economy.

Sands shares rose 3.8 percent after the bell, following the results.

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