(Nasdaq) - Las Vegas Sands Corp.'s (LVS) board has approved a special dividend of $2.75 a share, as the casino operator looks to boost shareholder returns.
Shares jumped 4% to $45.77 after-hours Monday.
The dividend will be paid on Dec. 18 to shareholders of record as of Dec. 10 and will cost the company about $2.26 billion. Las Vegas Sands had about $3.75 billion in cash and cash equivalents as of Sept. 30 and 823.4 million shares outstanding as of Nov. 1.
"What this special dividend really represents is the unique position our company currently enjoys in the hospitality, leisure and gaming industry," said Chairman Sheldon G. Adelson, adding the company will be "very aggressive" in identifying new development opportunities that will help grow its cash flow.
Las Vegas Sands also noted returning capital to shareholders remains a long-term priority. The company recently said it would increase its annual dividend to $1.40 a share beginning in 2013.
Las Vegas Sands, best known in the U.S. for its Italian-themed Venetian resort in Las Vegas, generates most of its revenue from profitable casinos in Macau and Singapore. Earlier this year, the company gained a bigger foothold in Macau--the only place in China where gambling is legal--with the official launch of Sands Cotai Central, its fourth casino in the gambling enclave.
The company earlier this month said its third-quarter profit fell 18% as it reported higher operating expenses, masking growing revenue from its Macau and Las Vegas operations.
Through Monday's close, the stock has climbed 3.3% over the past three months.