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MGM China Declares Maiden Dividend Of 81.6 Hong Kong Cents For Total Dividend Payout Of HK$3.10 Billion

HONG KONG -(Dow Jones)- Macau casino operator MGM China Holdings Ltd. (2282.HK), 51%-owned by MGM Resorts International (MGM), said Wednesday it would pay 81.6 Hong Kong cents a share, or a total of HK$3.10 billion, as its first dividend since listing in Hong Kong last June. The company's special dividend announcement comes weeks after rival Sands China Ltd. announced plans to pay a dividend. Four of Macau's six gambling operators have now paid or said they would pay dividends, following similar announcements in past years by Stanley Ho's SJM Holdings Ltd. and Wynn Resorts Ltd. unit Wynn Macau Ltd. MGM China's 2011 net profit doubled to HK$3.28 billion from HK$1.57 billion, boosted by strong growth in casino gambling revenues, which rose to HK$19.97 billion from HK$12.13 billion. Analysts have said that dividend payments to shareholders aren't standard in the casino industry, because companies generally still prefer to spend cash on new growth opportunities. Nonetheless, they say companies are increasingly under pressure to add or raise dividends as the industry matures. Though the dividend payments are evidence of operators' improving cash flow, fueled by explosive gambling revenue growth in Macau, they could also be seen as evidence that there aren't immediate prospects for new development, according to analysts. -By Hong Kong Bureau, Dow Jones Newswires; 852-2802-7002; djnews.hk@dowjones.com

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