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3Q earnings preview: Las Vegas Sands Corp.

Las Vegas Sands Corp. is to report its third-quarter financial results after the market closes Thursday. Below is a summary of key developments and analyst opinion related to the period.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Las Vegas Sands Corp. is to report its third-quarter financial results after the market closes Thursday. Below is a summary of key developments and analyst opinion related to the period.

OVERVIEW: Las Vegas Sands is a global casino operator run by billionaire Sheldon Adelson. It owns resorts in Las Vegas, Bethlehem, Pa., and the Chinese island gambling enclave of Macau and has a development under way in Singapore.

Sands and other casino operators have struggled during the recession as gamblers cut spending on gambling and resort visits. The Las Vegas-based company has pulled back on ambitious plans that called for more development in Macau, Las Vegas and Bethlehem, where it opened a casino in May that it planned to expand.

Encouraging signs from Macau in the third quarter led some analysts to raise their expectations for Sands as it pursues an initial public offering on Hong Kong's stock exchange. The shares in the company's Macau offerings are expected to raise about $2 billion.

Wynn Resorts Ltd., a rival, raised $1.63 billion in an offering this month, and the shares jumped 7 percent the first day they were traded.

Casinos performed well in Macau in September, climbing 53 percent from a year earlier, the third straight month the enclave's gambling revenue rose. That led to speculation that the market is about to recover.

Sands in September also closed and funded a $600 million public bond offering in hopes of boosting its liquidity.

The company said its total debt as of June 30 was $10.8 billion, with $63.3 million due this year and $198.8 million in 2010.

BY THE NUMBERS: Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect Las Vegas Sands to lose one penny per share on $1.17 billion in revenue, compared with profit of 2 cents on revenue of $1.11 billion in the same period a year earlier.

ANALYST TAKE: Jeffrey Logsdon of BMO Capital Markets, who lifted his earnings expectations for Sands this month, told investors Sands would likely see strong performance in Macau.

Logsdon reaffirmed his "outperform" rating and said an improving economy and easing visa restrictions will likely bring even better results later.

WHAT'S AHEAD: Analysts will likely press Adelson on everything about Macau: the market, Sands' potential IPO and its stalled development pipeline.

Investors want to know about the company's efforts in getting financing to restart two projects in Macau the company delayed last November.

They will also want to an update on the $5.5 billion Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, which is expected to open early next year.

Analysts will also want to get Adelson's take on what's happening in Las Vegas, where convention business is slow, gamblers are spending less and room rates are depressed.

STOCK PERFORMANCE: Las Vegas Sands' stock closed the third quarter at $16.84, toward the bottom of its 52-week range from $20.73 to $12.95. It fell $1.14, or 8 percent, on Wednesday to close at $13.17.