MGM Resorts narrows its 4th-quarter loss to $38.3 million

An exterior view of the Bellagio, June 6, 2013.

Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts International, operator of the MGM Grand, Bellagio, Monte Carlo, New York-New York, Mandalay Bay, Luxor, Excalibur, Mirage, Circus Circus and Slots-a-Fun on the Las Vegas Strip, properties in Reno, Henderson, Jean, Mississippi, Illinois and Michigan and partners at CityCenter and properties in Atlantic City and Macau, reported its fourth-quarter earnings Wednesday.

Company: MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM)

Revenue: $2.51 billion (up 9.5 percent from the fourth quarter of 2012). The company cited record cash flow from its MGM China division in Macau as well as its partnership in the CityCenter project. The company also had improved results at its Las Vegas Strip properties.

Loss: $38.3 million (loss narrowed from $1.22 billion in the third quarter of 2012). Analysts say MGM had an 11.6 percent improvement in cash flow, with positive performances in Macau, on the Las Vegas Strip and in Mississippi offsetting a downturn in Detroit.

Loss per share: 8 cents (loss narrowed from $2.50 in the third quarter of 2012).

What it means: Riding record cash flow at its Macau and CityCenter properties, MGM chipped away at expenses by refinancing debt, saving an estimated $80 million.

MGM China announced a $500 million dividend and has proposed a $128 million final dividend, subject to a shareholder vote.

“2013 was truly a good year for MGM, and 2014 is off to a strong start,” Chairman and CEO Jim Murren said.

Murren said the company has a healthy 2014 convention calendar with a 22 percent first-quarter convention guest mix, including corporate meetings. That should drive revenue per room by an estimated 10 percent.

First-quarter convention traffic was affected slightly by bad weather due to canceled flights throughout the country. The company is looking forward to a strong March with the ConExpo-Con/Agg show coming to town.

The company was found suitable to operate in Massachusetts by gaming regulators of that state and is awaiting a decision on licensing for a casino property in Springfield.

The 1,100-room The Hotel at Mandalay Bay, which is being rebranded to Morgans Hotel Group’s Delano luxury brand, will be remodeled later this year, a project that was delayed from last fall.

The company’s MyVegas social media free-gaming site is converting visitors to customers. Murren said the company estimated that 80,000 players visited an MGM resort in 2013.

Murren also is enthused with progress on the design of the company’s planned 20,000-seat arena just west of New York-New York and Monte Carlo. Murren called it “one of the country’s best arenas.” It is expected to open in 2016.

Also coming in early 2016: the company’s MGM Cotai property in Macau.

Murren said most of the site work on the property has been completed and construction on the resort’s basement substructure is underway. Murren said the company is beefing up Cotai entertainment offerings, which will increase the cost of the resort from $2.6 billion to $2.9 billion.