* H2 net up 77.6, misses analysts forecasts
* Year net profit up 1.4 pct at HK$2.07 bln
* Shares at record on bullish note, up 10.9 pct since listing (Adds quotes, details)
By Sui-Lee Wee
HONG KONG, March 24 (Reuters) - Wynn Macau (1128.HK) just missed analysts’ expectations with its 77.6 percent rise second-half earnings despite more Chinese gamblers placing their best in the Macau operations of Las Vegas casino operator Wynn Resorts (WYNN.O).
Analysts expect Wynn Macau’s market share to grow in 2010, as it is the only casino operator set to expand its presence in Macau, the only place in China where casino gambling is legal.
Wynn Macau, run by casino magnate Steve Wynn, operates one casino-resort in Macau and is slated to open an extension of the resort in April in the enclave.
Gambling revenues in Macau have soared at a double-digit pace in the past six months of 2009, boosted by the China's soaring economy and signalling sustained growth in the world's largest and fastest-growing gambling market. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ For a graphic on gambling revenues in Macau versus the Las Vegas Strip in 2009, click: here For a graphic of the market share of casinos in Macau, click: here ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ^ The casino operator, whose rivals include Sands China (1928.HK) and Melco Crown Entertainment MPEL.O, reported net profit of HK$1.16 billion ($149.5 million) for the six months ended December, an 77.6 percent jump from 2008, falling short of the HK$1.21 billion consensus forecast compiled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Its profit was at HK$653.03 million for second half of 2008.
The results were widely expected as Wynn Macau had said in February it expected its profit for 2009 to hit HK$2.07 billion ($266.4 million), exceeding its original forecast of HK$1.47 billion but largely in line with analysts’ consensus expectations.
In February, Wynn Macau reported a near doubling of fourth-quarter earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) to $142 million. [ID:nN25252395].
Sands China’s net profit for the October-December period also missed expectations. [ID:nTOE62006Y].
Before its results, shares in Wynn Macau rose 2 percent to its highest close since its listing in October, tracking gains in the U.S.-listed shares of its parent Wynn Resorts (WYNN.O). [ID:nN22210737].
Editing by Valerie Lee