Wynn set to start construction on $3.5 billion Macau resort

Steve Wynn

Steve Wynn

Wynn Resorts Ltd. will begin construction of its multibillion-dollar Macau resort on the Cotai Strip the day after Chinese New Year — Feb. 11 — setting up the prospect of opening it around that holiday in 2016.

Chairman Steve Wynn confirmed today that stabilization work has been completed on the site — reclaimed land that once was a waterway between two islands — and that foundation piers as deep as the length of a football field will be drilled to begin work.

The company is projecting the cost of the resort at between $3.5 billion and $4 billion. Wynn also shared publicly for the first time some of the design details of the Cotai property.

“We’re the first (light-rail) stop on Cotai between the ferry terminal and the airport,” Wynn said. “The stop is right at the middle of the lake we’re building that’s roughly the size of Bellagio.”

“At the bottom of the escalator from that light-rail system, we have put a Doppelmayr gondola car that has music and is air conditioned. People will get into the gondolas and they go around the fountains into the hotel, looking at the fountains and down at our pool area while music plays and fountains dance,” Wynn said. “We are meeting in many, many new ways the challenge of our neighbors and hoping to get the folks in the other hotels to experience our own. And all of this is such great fun.”

Wynn made his remarks during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings conference call. The company reported declines in fourth-quarter and 2012 earnings and revenue, with gains from the company’s Las Vegas properties not enough to offset decreases in Macau.

In the fourth quarter, the company reported net income of $111.4 million, $1.10 a share, on revenue of $1.29 billion, compared with net income of $190.5 million, $1.52 a share, on revenue of $1.34 billion the same quarter a year ago.

For 2012, Wynn reported net income of $502 million, $4.82 a share, on revenue of $5.15 billion, compared with net income in 2011 of $613.4 million, $4.88 a share, on revenue of $5.27 billion.

Other highlights from today’s call and earnings

• Wynn admires the competitors he has in China but says the competition keeps him on the top of his game. “Those guys have blood in their eyes...The guys in the gaming industry in Asia are triple-sharp.” Of his local competitor, Las Vegas Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson, and his work in Macau: “I listened to Sheldon’s call yesterday. You don’t get numbers like that unless you’re on your game.”

• Wynn says the public still hasn’t seen the full potential of Macau, and it’s only going to get better when the city’s light-rail system is complete and high-speed rail lines connecting Macau to interior China begin transporting more visitors to the gaming enclave.

• Wynn’s Las Vegas casinos had double-digit percentage increases in revenue in the fourth quarter over 2011. Net casino revenue in the fourth quarter of 2012 was $180.5 million, up 23.8 percent from the fourth quarter of 2011. Table games drop of $679.4 million was up 14.3 percent compared to $594.5 million in the 2011 quarter. Table games win percentage of 26.8 percent was higher than the property’s expected range of 21 percent to 24 percent and above the 23.3 percent reported in the 2011 quarter.

• Las Vegas slot machine handle of $758.4 million was 14.9 percent above the $660.1 million in the comparable period of 2011, and net slot win was up 11.1 percent to $47.6 million.

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