Las Vegas Sands: 'Boondoggles' Still Profitable

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 |  Includes: BJK, BYD, LVS, MGM
by: Judy Weil

Wells Fargo's (NYSE:WFC) CEO notwithstanding, Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS) says business travel to Las Vegas is still doing well.

From Las Vegas Sands Corp.'s Q408 conference call:

We have traditionally benefited from the strong foundation of financial group business, which has enabled us to enjoy higher midweek ADRs and benefited strong and profitable group related revenues. While we are not expecting group business to be as strong as it has been in the past. We do believe our group business pays some of insights such in the difficult conditions in other segments. We have more groups booked for the first quarter of ’09 than we had for the last year’s first-quarter for example. So this segment – while this segment faces challenges that are very much alive remains a critical component of our business strategy. We have been impacted by the recent headlines related to talk and the national headlines regarding Las Vegas business travel.

In general larger groups that we are booking business today are booking further out in 2010, 2011. So, we are working to proactively sell any holes we have in ’09 with small groups and groups that are shorter booking window in a slower economy.

Although

The first quarter looks pretty good year-on-year. Obviously, the economy has affected us. The most recent national headlines hasn’t helped, and we still see our group business to be a strong part overall – reports probably affected it but it’s not as – year-on-year will decline versus 2008 in the second and third quarter. I can’t speak the fourth quarter yet, hoping it will rebound. Second and third quarters are going to be more challenging than the first quarter was.

The group business is going to be very challenging in Macao this year.

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