Ray Irani has resigned from the board of casino group Wynn Resorts Ltd “effective immediately” said a Wednesday filing to Nasdaq, referring to his departure on Monday, March 5.
No reason was given for Mr Irani’s decision to step down. It was on the current board’s watch that allegations of sexual misconduct against the group’s founder and former chairman Steve Wynn – some dating back to the 1970s – recently emerged, leading Mr Wynn to resign from his posts in February.
The company has since made a public pledge to maintain a safe and respectful workplace, and set up what it described as an independent enquiry into the claims. It added that would be overseen by independent directors on the board. After deciding not to retain one law firm advising it on the matter, the group announced in mid-February it had hired another.
The same Wednesday filing by Wynn Resorts said that another board member – Alvin Shoemaker – would not stand for re-election when his term comes due to expire at the group’s 2019 annual meeting of stockholders.
“The company thanks Messrs Irani and Shoemaker for their service to the company and its stockholders,” the filing stated.
Wynn Resorts is the parent company of Macau-based casino operator Wynn Macau Ltd. Mr Wynn was also chairman and chief executive of Wynn Macau Ltd until February 6.
The group also on Wednesday announced that it would be increasing its quarterly dividend to US$0.75 per share from US$0.50 apiece, beginning the first quarter 2018. “It results in a dividend rate of US$3.00 per share for the year,” said the firm.
Wynn Resorts also issued what it termed a “CEO update” with a presentation from Mr Wynn’s successor as group chief executive, Matt Maddox, giving some commentary on recent business performance.
It said that group wide in the United States and Macau during what it termed the recent 10-day Chinese New Year period – which it defined as February 16 to February 25 – total adjusted property earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) was up 46 percent over the prior-year holiday period.
This was due to “continued strength at Wynn Macau, meaningful year-over-year ramp-up at Wynn Palace, and robust gaming volumes at Wynn Las Vegas,” said the document.
The company defined the prior-year lunar calendar-linked holiday period as having run from January 28, 2017 through to February 6, 2017.
Results for the two months to February 28 “were strong, with expected total adjusted property EBITDA up between 27 percent and 34 percent over the prior year,” said the company. It added that it saw “continued strength” in Macau in the first two months of 2018, “most notably at Wynn Palace” in Cotai.
In the two months to February 28, Wynn Macau property on the peninsula generated adjusted property EBITDA in the range of US$137 million to US$143 million; Wynn Palace generated adjusted property EBITDA of between US$138 million to US$144 million, according to the company’s presentation.
“The aggregate results equate to property EBITDA, on a per day basis, of US$4.76 million,” noted brokerage Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. “We expect this run rate to subside a tad in March post Chinese New Year but would note that VIP hold through February stands at just 2.6 percent,” wrote analysts Carlo Santarelli and Danny Valoy in the Wednesday note.
Commenting on Wynn Resorts’ revised dividend policy, the analysts said: “We believe the dividend increase is more symbolic than anything else and speaks to two key topics: 1) we think it shows management confidence in the pending litigation and 2) we believe it signals a less robust development effort.”
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"The stronger mass growth [in Macau in the second quarter] should be viewed positively vis- à-vis [the] government’s stated priority”
Japanese brokerage Nomura