This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, January 28, 2003, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.
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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Did MGM Mirage hit the jackpot today? The second largest casino operator says its fourth quarter earnings rose despite a lackluster New Year's Eve. Earnings are up $39 million compared to $24 million a year ago. How will the company move forward? Let's ask Terrence Lanni, the chairman and CEO of MGM Mirage. He joins us from Las Vegas.
Terrence, good to have you back.
CAVUTO: Good numbers despite a lousy economy, or is it because of it?
LANNI: Well, I think it's a tough economy, I wouldn't say it's a lousy economy. Our international business has come back dramatically, probably equal to what it was pre-9/11. But our national end of the business is a little bit more shaky, if you will, as far as bouncing around a little bit. But still very strong in itself, coming back probably off about 15 percent from where it was.
CAVUTO: Terrence, do more people gamble when times are tougher?
LANNI: I think it tends to be the case. Many instances though when one looks at one's net worth, especially with the national economy and some of a basis of not moving ahead as greatly as we would like it to move ahead, has an effect on it. But overall we tend to be recession-resistant, not recession-proof altogether.
CAVUTO: You know, I always wondered with you with the Bellagio and everything else, these huge mega-complexes throughout Las Vegas, they can't possibly fill them all or are they?
LANNI: Well, we do pretty well. We are in the mid 90s, on a 90 percent rating. We look at the national averages for pure hotels that are in the high 60s, low 70s. So we come pretty close to being fully occupied, on weekends we're always 100 percent occupied.
CAVUTO: What do you make of what the president has to say tonight to help industries like yours?
LANNI: Well, obviously the tax stimulus package is one that we are going to watch very closely. The proposals especially with the dividend aspect and the associated effects on the capital gains would be significant for companies such as ours which puts out a lot of cash flow each year, which would certainly afford us the opportunity to review and consider with the board a issuance of dividends, because we do generate a lot of cash.
CAVUTO: So you think if the president did that there would be a lot more people interested in your stock?
LANNI: Well, if the president could do it alone, he would do it. But obviously he has to get the legislative support for it. And I think there would be more interest in our stock, yes.
CAVUTO: Finally your sense of the president and Iraq, and what he has got to do there. Is this a pall over your industry too?
LANNI: Well, you know, we always think about those things. We are obviously very dependent upon people flowing into our properties. And if you go back to 1991, for the period of the last Middle Eastern war, if there is going to be a war again, it could have an affect, we think it's short-term. And if it's going to happen, it is the president's decision and we will certainly be very supportive of the president.
CAVUTO: Terrence, thank you very much, good seeing you again.
LANNI: Thank you, pleasure.
CAVUTO: Terrence Lanni, the man who runs MGM Mirage, the chairman and CEO.
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