Lucky players cause Q1 loss for Melco Crown

May 26, 2009 5:02 PM
Earnings by Ray Poirier | It was a disappointing first quarter for Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. (MPEL), but in reporting the net loss for the period that ended on March 31, company officials wanted only to focus on a new property.

Melco Crown’s City of Dreams resort in Macau will open on June 1 and is expected to become the company’s "crown jewel."

For the quarter, the company said it had a loss of $21.3 million or $0.08 per share compared to a 2008 gain of $43.2 million or $0.10 per share. Net revenue during the period fell from last year’s $482.9 million to $216.5 million.

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The company cited "abnormally high win rate" for players as the primary reason for the revenue decline. Analysts had expected revenues to be $251 million and that the company would experience a loss of about $0.08 per share.

But Laurence Ho, co-chairman and CEO of Melco Crown, asked investors to focus on the company’s latest project.

"The opening of City of Dreams is a turning point for our company and a major milestone for Macau in its transformation into Asia’s premier leisure destination," said Ho.

"We are less than two weeks away from the realization of many years of hard work and determination. Our aim was to meaningfully raise the bar for gaming entertainment in Asia, particularly for the emerging premium mass market customer, and to profitably diversify our portfolio of assets into the most attractive market segment in Macau. I believe that we will be successful on both counts, which should be a major driver of shareholder value," he said.

Ho added that the company’s "financial position remains strong and our balance sheet is one of the best in the gaming business."