MGM Resorts beats 1Q earnings expectations, misses revenue forecasts



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LAS VEGAS — MGM Resorts International is still counting the money it earned from hosting Saturday's Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight, so CEO Jim Murren says he will save any "fun facts" for the company's second quarter results.

"This weekend was unlike any other that we've ever seen," Murren told investors and analysts Monday after the casino and resort operator reported its results from the first three months of the year.

MGM Resorts posted a profit of $169.9 million, or 33 cents a share, in the quarter that ended March 31. That was up 65 percent compared to the same time a year ago and easily beat Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of eight analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 14 cents per share.

It bottom line was boosted in part by a legal settlement related to MGM Resorts' CityCenter development and a dividend payout from the project of which it owns a 50 percent stake. The focus of the legal settlement — the never-finished Harmon tower being slowly deconstructed — sits on 2.2 acres where the nearby Crystals luxury shopping mall might expand, Murren said. He said the company's board is eager to find a buyer for Crystals, which MGM Resorts values at more than $1 billion.

MGM Resorts reported revenue of $2.33 billion in the first quarter, down 11 percent compared to the prior year and below Wall Street's forecast of $2.44 billion.

The company, like Las Vegas as a whole, had a tough quarter compared to 2014, when the construction-industry trade show Conexpo-Con/Agg was in town bringing more than 100,000 attendees and boosting revenue. It returns in 2017.

Revenue was also hurt by a decline at MGM China, its property in the Asian gambling enclave of Macau that has seen its gambling fortunes shrink as VIPs stay away from table games and slot machines amid a government crackdown on corruption.

Murren, reflecting similar comments from other casino CEOs with projects in China, said MGM Resorts is confident its Asia developments will remain beneficial. The company expects to finish its second Macau project, MGM Cotai, by the end of 2016 with a focus, like it has done in Las Vegas, on non-gambling features including an atrium and theater.

Murren said the company expects to open its resort at National Harbor in Maryland at the same time.

MGM Resort's shares were down 13 cents at $21.27 in afternoon trading Monday. They have dropped almost 20 percent in the last 12 months.

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Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on MGM at http://www.zacks.com/ap/MGM

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